Lessons in Exile
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be streaming our worship service live at 11:00 AM each Sunday morning via Facebook Live for the foreseeable future. (Our church building is now closed for any events/activities). A copy of Sunday worship services is available at https://www.facebook.com/gbchope/videos/ and on the GBC YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYwPaV5veW8. The regular sermon audio will be available on the sermon posts as usual.
I. Best LAID PLANS
A. An Activated HOPE
Ezra 1:1; Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10-14
B. The RETURN and REBUILD Cycle
Ezra 1-6; Ezra 7-10; Neh. 1-7
C. A HAPPY ENDING?
II. Things FALL Apart Neh. 13:1-31
A. The HOUSE of GOD is NEGLECTED
B. The SABBATH is DESECRATED
C. The WALL is TRIVIALIZED
D. The LEADER is LOST
III. What EXILE TEACHES Us
A. PEOPLE and PROJECTS will FAIL
Neh. 13; Psalm 2, 20:7, 118:8
B. DIFFICULTIES Can SHARPEN or SHATTER Us
C. LOOK for JESUS
II Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; II Tim. 3:15-16
I Pet. 2:5; Eph. 2:19-22; Matt. 5:17-20; Rom. 8:3-4
Zech 2:4-5; Neh. 8:10b
Questions for Reflection:
- Kid’s Question: When have you planned something but it didn’t work out the way you planned? Did it end up being better or worse? How did you react?
- The stories in the Bible can be frustrating precisely because they are so real. Anti-climaxes are disappointing. In “the story of your life” do you feel like the climax has already happened or is yet to come? How does that affect the way you live your life right now?
- When have you experienced the bitter truth of things falling apart? What truths did you learn through the process?
- Are there people or entities that you put your hope in? What would happen if they failed?
- How have you reacted to the difficulties in your life. Have they drawn you closer to God or pushed you farther away?
- Where can you see Jesus in the current circumstances of your exile?
The Final 2 Stanzas of “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns
But, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane, (not alone)
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley, (often go awry)
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?