This mid-week Bible Study was taught by Pastor McShaffrey during October 2011 home on the topic: “Living in Exile”
Outlines are available here:
Lesson One – Instruction for the Exiled
In this study, we considered the specific instructions give by God through the prophet Jeremiah to those who would be carried away into Babylonian exile (Jeremiah 29:1-23).
1. We must acknowledge God’s sovereignty during periods of exile and oppression (vs. 4).
2. We must not allow the experience of exile to interfere with our vocations (vv. 5-6).
3. We must be committed to seeking the peace of and praying for community in which we live (vs. 7).
4. We must be discerning when our fellow captives begin to prognosticate (vv. 8-9).
5. We must cling to God’s specific promises while waiting for our deliverance (vv. 11-14).
6. We must realize that sometimes living in exile is better than living in an apostate theocracy (vv. 15-19).
7. We must remember to fear our God who indeed witnesses all things done in exile (vv. 20-23).
Lesson Two – Living in Babylon
In this study we considered Daniel’s noble example as one who had resolved in his heart not to be assimilated into the pagan culture in which he lived and God’s blessing upon his personal obedience.
1. God sometimes allows his people to experience times of defeat, exile, and captivity (Daniel 1:1-2).
2. The world will seek to indoctrinate and exploit God’s people (Daniel 1:3-4).
3. The world will oftentimes be subtle and accommodating in its attempt to assimilate the saints (Daniel 1:5).
4. The world will seek to prevent the saints from maintaining a distinct identity (Daniel 1:6-7).
5. The saints must take deliberate measures to maintain godly separation (Daniel 1:8).
6. The saints will be criticized, but must maintain a peaceable witness (Daniel 1:9-13).
7. The world may take positive notice of our distinctiveness as God’s people (Daniel 1:14-21).
Lesson Three – Facing the Furnace
In this study we considered the confusion and complications which come to those who are at one moment honored and at the next moment hated for their devotion to the Lord.
1. God’s people are to “seek the peace” of the culture in which they are captive (Jeremiah 29:7, Daniel 2:1-45).
2. God’s people will occasionally experience periods of cultural influence and even dominion (Daniel 2:46-49).
3. For all our godly influence, cultures will never forsake their vanity and idolatry (Daniel 3:1-7).
4. Worldlings will seek the destruction of the godly through legislative and judicial means (Daniel 3:8-12).
5. The saints simply must not comply when commanded or coerced to commit sin (Daniel 3:13-16).
6. The saints ought not to expect miraculous deliverance from all persecution (Daniel 3:17-18).
7. While flippant and facile, kings and cultures will occasionally honor God and his people (Daniel 3:19-30).
Lesson Four – Praying in Exile
In this study, we explored the importance of prayer as we honestly unburden our hearts before the Lord, long for our homeland, and trust in God’s sure promises. This lesson is based on Psalm 137:
1. Not all exiles will receive the honor that Daniel and his friends enjoyed (c.f., Daniel 1-2).
2. Even in the midst of beauty and bounty, the exile will always be touched by sorrow (vv. 1-2).
3. Exiles will oftentimes become an object of ridicule to their oppressors (vs. 3).
4. Singing the songs of the Lord can sometimes be difficult for the exile (vs. 4).
5. Exiles should resolve in their hearts never to forget that heaven is their home (vv. 5-6).
6. Praying that God would “make things right” is always appropriate for the saints (vs. 7).
7. It is also appropriate to take comfort in God’s promise to judge justly (vv. 8-9).
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