The Way of the Exile

Psalm 142:7Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me.”

To be an exile is to be barred from one’s native country, typically for political or punitive reasons.

The world has a long history of people losing their homeland and being exiled to a land that is not their own. Nearly every major country has a story that depicts the subjugation of a class of people losing their property and being evicted, causing immense suffering, and yet out of the fires of trial– hope arises.

Psalm 39:7And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.”

For those who have endured the trials of exile, they have left a legacy we can look back on and examine with interest. Not all have succeeded, but for those that have we can gain knowledge of what it takes to excel in the midst of trial.

In 605 B.C, Daniel as well as a host of other Israelites were conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon into exile. The faithfulness of he and others left a lasting mark in history.

Daniel

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or wine. So he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself.”

1. Daniel remained pure.

The world is ruled by Satan and it is inundated with temptation. Sin is not in their vocabulary, it can’t be, the very definition is relative to God’s laws and those are not recognized by those who live by their own mantra. We are sojourners in this world of darkness, we are meant to be separate, set apart…Holy. Daniel understood this need to remain steadfast in his principles, even in the midst of a Babylonian captivity.

2. Wisdom came through godliness.

Daniel 1:20In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.”

The patterns of godliness are patterns that were ordained by God. All of God’s ways are wise and true. Walk in His counsel and you will learn beyond your years. He instructs even when you lack the knowledge in your ignorance. Daniel showed this wisdom in the way He lived, honoring God first in all he did was the way he became honored himself.

3. With knowledge came Discernment.

Daniel 2:20-21Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”

The way to knowledge is through the Word of God. This avenue of Truth is directed and administered by the Holy Spirit. You must become a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ for this to occur. A believer is one who has recognized their slavery to sin and accepted the purchased price of redemption for their soul. This price was paid by Jesus Christ, by His life He laid down for you. Discernment is simply the ability to distinguish between truth and error. The Word of God is instructional but to understand it and apply is comes by way of God’s leading….the Holy Spirit is the means by which He does this.

4. Principles never change.

Daniel 3:16-18Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Although the specific events surrounding this group of steadfast Jews didn’t directly involve Daniel, they came as exiles with him and showed that the evidence for a conflict of principles is one that takes great courage.

When an exile is thrust into a culture that is far different than their own, the environment of beliefs will be much more dramatic. When the principles are those of God versus those of the myriad of idolatrous belief systems, the contrast is typically much sharper. This reality of animosity toward biblical values has been consistent throughout time and culture. Listen to someone who has very little over the words they use and Jesus Christ is a common refrain used in a blasphemous manner. Have you ever heard someone use Buddha or Muhammed as an expletive? Of course not, they enemy who controls this world is not threatened by a false god or belief system, he is threatened by the King of kings.

The inevitable conflict of those who strive to exemplify Jesus and those who do not is a constant reminder of the spiritual war waged every day.

5. Righteousness is always relevant.

Daniel 6:5Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”

The satraps in Daniels day were grievous against him and sought to ruin him. The only venue for attack was in regards to the righteousness by which he lived. The moral law is, was, and will always be relevant. It is reflective of God’s character and His character never changes. Daniel lived by the principles of God’s Word and the moral law (10 commandments), are the embodiment of those principles. How does an exile shine in the midst of darkness?——live in righteousness.

The World

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.”

Colossians 1:21

The Kingdom of God is an everlasting kingdom….it will have no end. With the advent of a new Heaven and a new Earth, the only people who will remain are those who are citizens of this Holy roll call. Before God, all who have rejected His Kingdom have been alienated by virtue of sin and consequently judgement while the world is in a constant state of enmity before Him. As an alien is exiled from his homeland, so the world remains alienated from God—- unaware that they are being held captive by the deception of Satan. Pride is at the root of this scheme and the hope they have built in themselves will eventually be laid bare.

Household of Faith

Ephesians 2:19Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”

We who have been adopted into God’s spiritual household have been made heirs according to the promise. We have been redeemed from death unto life. We live by a different mantra, moving from one of humanism to one that has been captivated by God’s love.

How should we now live?

Even though true believers dwell in this world, we are called to be separate from it. We live as exiles in a land that is ruled by an evil magistrate, bent on self-adulation and incorporating a creed that is an affront to God’s Holiness. The downfall of Satan has already been set, the followers of his masquerade will soon follow him to the grave.

The world lives by the creed of self-adulation while laced with false humility. The believer lives by humility and the exaltation of the Savior.

A believers creed resembles this:

Mark 12:39-41Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

This creed is a summation of God’s moral law. It is the crux of Christianity and it is the standard of living that separates true and false believers.

We can take a lesson from the righteous exiles who have gone before us and see what happens with those who live faithfully.

*God delivers the one who stands for Him.

*Miracles happen when true faith is exhibited.

*Living by the Principles of God’s Word brings honor.

–There are many ways to exhibit the character of Christ–

Methods are many—-Principles are few—-methods may change, but principles never do.

Join the ranks of God’s exiles, join the ranks of the redeemed…live victoriously….and be among the citizenship of a Kingdom that will never end.

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