ERa 8: EXILE

Introduction to EXILE (with Jeff Cavins)

(Um...I will not be typing in BABY BLUE because it is VERY HARD on the eyes on these computer screens and also when you print out the notes so I will use THIS blue 😉)


Introduction:

The NARRATIVE BOOK in this Era is 2 Kings 17-25. The Supplemental Books are 2 Chronicles 29-36, Joel, Zephaniah, Lamentations, Nahum, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Habakkuk, Judith, Tobit, Baruch, Isaiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel


We have ALREADY READ Hosea and Micah

  • 722 BC to 538 BC

  • FUN FACT #1: The World Power is BABYLON,

  • FUN FACT #2: Buddha lived c. 563-483 BC

  • FUN FACT #3: Confucius lived c. 551-479 BC

  • This is the LONGEST era we will be reading

  • What should we be paying attention to?

  • Jeff Cavins is our SHERPA to guide us so call him “Sherpa Jeff”

  • We are leaving the Divided Kingdom, a TRAGIC era

  • This is the BABY BLUE PERIOD

  • Judah is “Singing the BLUES in BABY-lon” 🤣

  • We just came out of the DARKEST PERIOD of the history of Israel where we saw the Kingdom divide into TWO NATIONS

  • Israel with TEN TRIBES to the NORTH

  • Judah with TWO TRIBES to the SOUTH

  • The prophets have been speaking to BOTH OF THEM

  • Hosea and Amos spoke to the north

  • Other prophets spoke to the south

  • The people are simply NOT LISTENING

  • The very first part of the EXILE is going to be the TEN NORTHERN TRIBES being taken out of the North

  • It’s a relatively short period of Scripture, 2 Kings 17-25

  • It covers a lot of years, however

  • The Ten Northern Tribes will be taken out by the ASSYRIANS

  • The Assyrians are a tough group of people

  • Up to this point, Egypt was the world power

  • Now, the world power is Assyria

  • They are going to WIPE OUT the North and bring in FIVE OTHER CONQUERED NATIONS into the North and they mix with the remnant population in the North

  • This is the BEGINNING OF THE SAMARITANS

  • When we get to Jesus’ period, SAMARITANS and JEWS (Southern Kingdom of Judah) don’t mix well

  • This is where it begins

  • Once the Northern Kingdom is taken over by the Assyrians, we will not really hear much about them until the GOSPEL OF JOHN (Which we already have in Bible in a Year 😁)

  • When we read the Gospel of John, we run into the WOMAN AT THE WELL

  • She is a Samaritan woman

  • Jesus will bring ALL OF THIS INFORMATION back in an AMAZING WAY

  • This era takes place in 722 BC

  • It is a SAD PERIOD in Israel’s history and we will not hear anything about them for the most part

  • St. Paul in the New Testament keeps Israel in the back of his mind

  • He is going to go after them as he goes into these nations where they have been scattered

  • So that is the NORTH, the FIRST part of the EXILE

  • One of the messages of St. Paul is that the Lord God is RECONSTITUTING His People as He promised He would in Jesus Christ by sending those Apostles out to gather ALL THE PEOPLES

  • Including those TEN NATIONS scattered and lost

  • That one of the ways in which Jesus Christ FULFILLS that promise of those prophets, the promise of God, to bring His People back into the ONE KINGDOM WITH ONE KING

  • IT’S INCREDIBLE!!

  • John Ch 4 is about the WOMAN AT THE WELL

  • The FIVE NATIONS that are mingled with the People of Israel

  • The Woman has FIVE HUSBANDS

  • Jesus says to the woman, “You have had five husbands but the one you are with is not your husband.”

  • Not only is that a reflection of HER ACTUAL STATE OF LIFE

  • BUT…

  • It is a reflection of the PEOPLE OF SAMARIA who had those FIVE NATIONS mingled among them (Do you remember what those FIVE NATIONS are? Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim 🤓)

  • THEY LOST THEIR IDENTITY

  • In Hosea, he compares the People of Israel to an ADULTEROUS PERSON that turns away from the one that loves them, THEIR HUSBAND and here is the HUSBAND who is SO FAITHFUL

  • It’s a VERY POWERFUL TAKEAWAY

  • For people who have felt that they have BETRAYED the Lord, the Lord is NOT going to be UNFAITHFUL to you

  • As a HUSBAND, God is going to SEEK YOU OUT

  • God is going to give you that LIVING WATER that you so DESIRE

  • If you identify with the NORTH, there is GOOD NEWS

  • The same husband, JESUS, loves you and is going to come looking for you

  • We are also going to follow the ups and downs of Judah (SOUTHERN KINGDOM)

  • We typically think about the BABYLONIAN EXILE when we think about the EXILE

  • It is important to note that the BABYLONIANS defeated the ASSYRIANS

  • So we have a new BULLY on the block, the BABYLONIANS

  • The King of Babylon is Nebuchadnezzar

  • Once again, the prophets SPEAK but the SOUTH doesn’t listen

  • They are not listening to the Lord

  • Their leadership is CORRUPT

  • They are not honoring the SABBATH years and giving the land REST

  • There was predicted by the Prophet Isaiah that there is going to be an EXILE

  • We have to pause here for a minute

  • Sometimes people do not understand what EXILE means

  • EXILE is really picking you up and bringing you PHYSICALLY to where you are at SPIRITUALLY

  • And where they are at SPIRITUALLY is FAR AWAY FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD

  • That is what is going to happen in the EXILE

  • There is another REPEATING THEME here

  • Oftentimes God uses Israel’s ENEMIES to do the DISCIPLINING

  • That was the case with the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and later the Persians, Greece, and Rome

  • But here it will be the BABYLONIANS that will come down and DESTROY JERUSALEM

  • That is going to take place in 586-587 BC

  • When we talk about the BABYLONIAN EXILE, we are dealing with JUDAH (SOUTHERN KINGDOM) where the capital is JERUSALEM

  • The TEMPLE was built in Jerusalem

  • There is A LOT AT STAKE

  • This is important to remember as we are reading 2 Kings 17-25

  • The BABYLONIAN EXILE happens in THREE PHASES

  • Phase 1: 605 BC

  • One of the first persons in that group is a young man by the name of DANIEL

  • He will be taken to Babylon Exile

  • When the Assyrians came into the NORTH, they just OBLITERATED the place

  • When the Babylonians came into the SOUTH, they took away all of the TALENTED PEOPLE, all of the GIFTED PEOPLE, the RICH PEOPLE, and they left EVERYTHING ELSE BEHIND

  • Daniel writes from the place of EXILE

  • That’s important when people are listening to Daniel to know that this is a young guy that REALLY wants to serve the Lord

  • Daniel will be TEMPTED to become like the Babylonians

  • BUT…

  • HE WILL NOT DO IT

  • Daniel is actually going to become one of the real ALL-STARS in Salvation History

  • Phase 2: 597 BC

  • Our numbers are getting smaller because we are heading towards AD

  • This will be EZEKIEL who works with BARUCH

  • Phase 3: 587 BC

  • That is when the Temple is going to be DESTROYED

  • This BEAUTIFUL AMAZING Temple that Solomon built is going to be reduced to NOTHING

  • This is REALLY REALLY SAD in Israel’s history

  • Their FAITH has COMPLETELY DEVOLVED and been RUINED

  • The people will have to reconstitute in Babylon and will be there for 70 YEARS in captivity

  • When we are reading this period, be aware of Daniel and a lot of other books that take place

  • Daniel

  • Ezekiel

  • Obadiah

  • Habakkuk

  • Judith

  • Zepheniah

  • Nahum

  • Joel

  • ETC.

  • We have ALL KINDS of books that should be read in this particular context

  • EXILE is that God is bringing the people to a PHYSICAL PLACE that is representative of their SPIRITUAL REALITY

  • The Third Wave of Exile is when the Destruction of the Temple happens

  • We recognize that THIS IS WHAT THE PEOPLE HAVE DONE

  • In so many ways, being so unfaithful to Temple Worship

  • So unfaithful to the Lord and His Commandments

  • They turned to their own Asherim, High Places, and other places they wanted to worship

  • So that makes sense

  • Here is the Lord’s Temple where they were MEANT to be given their IDENTITY

  • They were MEANT to renew their covenant on a daily basis in this INCREDIBLE WAY

  • BUT…

  • THEY WERE NOT LIVING A COVENANT

  • So this Temple is DESTROYED

  • Jeremiah is preaching to the people, “You can’t keep just saying this is the Temple of the Lord,we have the Temple of the Lord. Yes, you have the Lord’s Temple in your presence. But you are not LIVING LIKE YOU DO.”

  • So God, in a certain sense is saying, “Yes I MUST BRING YOU INTO EXILE.”

  • God says through Hosea, “I must bring you into exile in the wilderness so that I can bring you back to me.”

  • This is all REMEDIAL

  • It’s meant not to be simply PUNISHMENT because they have done wrong in the sense of God’s vengeance or wrath

  • It is meant to be JUSTICE that is oriented towards HEALING and RESTORATION

  • This is the REMEDY of HEALING GOD’S PEOPLE and their UNFAITHFULNESS

  • There is a RECURRING THEME all the way from the BEGINNING OF THE BIBLE ALL THE WAY UP TO JESUS

  • This THEME is EXILE AND RETURN

  • EXILE AND RETURN

  • Maybe another way that we can understand EXILE is the modern notion of EXCOMMUNICATION

  • People think EXCOMMUNICATION is kicking someone out of The Church

  • NO IT IS NOT!!

  • What did the Bishop do?

  • He drew a line in the sand and showed the person that they are out, they aren’t in

  • Because of whatever reason it might be

  • It wasn’t that they didn’t like the person

  • IT IS A GIFT OF GRACE AND MERCY that God is SHOWING YOU where YOU ARE AT and HOPING that you will TEND TO THAT HUNGER IN YOUR HEART AND RETURN TO THE LORD

  • THAT IS THE GOAL OF EXILE….RESTORATION

  • We will see this in the NEXT PERIOD...THE RETURN

  • Here is one of the sad points about EXILE

  • A number of changes took place

  • The Temple is gone

  • So they started to gather around the family kitchen table and that became the place of SACRIFICE

  • This is where the rules of Kosher/Kashruth really begin to develop

  • There is almost a sort of LITURGY around the kitchen table and what is CLEAN and UNCLEAN

  • Another thing that started to develop during the EXILE was THE PHARISEES

  • The Pharisees became the TEACHERS and the LEADERS

  • They taught the people

  • The SADDEST PART about the EXILE was that while they were FAR AWAY from the Temple, and the writer of LAMENTATIONS was lamenting that they are not around the Temple anymore, lamenting that they were not in Jerusalem anymore

  • The SAD THING was that some of the people in the Exile….KIND OF LIKED IT!!

  • THAT IS THE DANGER!!

  • If you find yourself in EXILE in your life and suddenly, you start to ENJOY IT…

  • This is what St. Paul talks about, “When the good becomes bad and the bad is good, AND YOU ARE DECEIVED.” 🤯🤯🤯

  • People around the world were PREVENTED FROM GOING TO MASS during COVID

  • “We have in our day no prince, no prophet, no leader, no place to offer first fruits to the Lord.”

  • WE ARE EXILED

  • WE ARE FAR FROM HOME

  • WE DO NOT HAVE THE TEMPLE

  • WE DO NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO WORSHIP THE LORD

  • What will happen when we have the opportunity to COME BACK HOME?

  • What happens after all the prophets have spoken, after people’s lives have been uprooted, and after they were brought to a foreign land?

  • They will have the invitation to go back home and rebuild Jerusalem and The Temple

  • WILL THEY?

  • That’s similar to ALL OF OUR HEARTS when it comes to our own exile

  • Did we like being in exile?

  • We were released from our Obligation to Mass

  • Did we find our exile to be a place of FREEDOM AND JOY?

  • Did we find our exile to be a place of ISOLATION and ALIENATION and LONELINESS???

  • I know how I felt, how about you?

  • You are invited BACK but DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK??

  • THAT IS A GREAT INSIGHT

  • Ask yourselves, “Do I enjoy this exile now more than I enjoyed the Presence of the Lord before?”

  • We know one guy who DID NOT enjoy exile more in the New Testament

  • THE PRODIGAL SON

  • He was FAR AWAY from his FATHER

  • He CAME TO HIS SENSES

  • He turned around and RETURNED TO HIS FATHER

  • Those who find themselves in EXILE need to pause and ask, “Is this CRAZY or what?” and then RETURN TO THE LORD

  • The Word of God is LIVING AND EFFECTIVE

  • It is SPEAKING TO US RIGHT NOW

  • Not only the INVITATION TO RETURN

  • But also the WORDS OF THE PROPHETS

  • All the people in this Bible in a Year Community will be journeying for several days where we leave the NARRATIVE for a little while and we will go through ALL THE PROPHETS like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, etc.

  • What will help us navigate the three MAJOR PROPHETS and the MINOR PROPHETS?

  • Some of them will have stories like DANIEL

  • Others will be words of the prophets calling the people to REPENTANCE and reminding them of God’s FUTURE RESTORATION

  • Two major roles in Israel were the PRIESTS and the PROPHETS

  • The PRIESTS were part of the problem that landed them in EXILE

  • We will see this in Ezekiel

  • God said, “I myself will come in the future and shepherd my people.”

  • This is exactly what Jesus will say later on when He is in Jericho

  • We have to ask, “What is a PROPHET?”

  • People may think that a prophet is just someone who is a little bit odd, walks around saying, “This is what is going to happen in the future.”

  • The word PROPHET in Hebrew is NEVIIM

  • It means somebody who goes out and REMINDS the people what God has said

  • They are not so much predictors of the future

  • Although in Jeremiah 25:8 he said, “Behold I will send Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these nations round about; I will utterly destroy them, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting reproach.”

  • This whole land shall be a ruin and a waste and these nations will serve the King of Babylon for 70 YEARS

  • Obviously Jeremiah Ch 25 is a PREDICTION OF THE FUTURE

  • BUT…

  • The CENTRAL ROLE of the PROPHETS was to PROCLAIM GOD’S WORD, WOO THE PEOPLE and ENCOURAGE THEM TO COME BACK TO GOD and WALK ACCORDING TO GOD’S PLAN OF SHEER GOODNESS

  • That is what the prophets are called to do

  • YES, there are some weird stories in there

  • But, God uses WEIRD PEOPLE 😉

  • When you are reading the Prophets, don’t read them as speaking JUST TO JUDAH

  • Read them as SPEAKING TO YOU, IN YOUR LIFE, TODAY

  • The circumstances you find yourself in

  • Are you in Babylon?

  • Are you back in Jerusalem?

  • Do you desire Jerusalem?

  • Listen to the PROPHETS FROM YOUR OWN PERSPECTIVE

  • Take note of what GOD IS SAYING TO YOU

  • MAJOR PROPHETS simply were those prophets that had A LOT TO SAY like Isaiah and Jeremiah

  • MINOR PROPHETS had messages that were SHORTER that were to SPECIFIC PEOPLE

  • This is an EXCITING PERIOD because it’s not just SOMEBODY ELSE’S HISTORY

  • IT IS OUR HISTORY AS WELL

  • We have kings that come and go in both kingdoms

  • Some did what was EVIL

  • Some did what was GOOD

  • Why were the people continually turning away from God?

  • After we hear the narrative in 2 Kings 17-25, we will hear the words of the PROPHETS

  • There is a big element where the prophets are not just speaking to the people of their day

  • THEY ARE SPEAKING TO US

  • We do the SAME STUPID THINGS that God’s Chosen People did in the past

  • God’s Chosen People TODAY are still tempted to have WAYWARD HEARTS

  • We are tempted to say that WE ARE THE EXCEPTION HERE

  • We are tempted to say that WE CAN GET AWAY WITH THIS

  • We are tempted to say that GOD WILL NOT JUDGE US

  • We are tempted to say that as long as we can get away with it, WE ARE GOING TO DO THESE STUPID THINGS

  • The Prophets remind us IT WILL NOT LAST FOREVER

  • A DAY OF JUDGMENT IS COMING

  • For those of us who find ourselves IN EXILE, THERE WILL BE RESTORATION

  • GOD WILL BRING YOU BACK TO HIS HEART (I can confirm this is TRUE from my OWN EXPERIENCE!! 🤯🤯🤯)

  • Jeff Cavins suggests reading the PROPHETS while standing in front of a mirror 😉

  • Let the WORD OF THE PROPHETS be directed toward each of us WITH RESTORATION IN MIND

  • Ask God to give you that HUNGER

  • Ask God to give you that LOVE that you once had if you are far away

  • In the Book of Revelation when John spoke to the Church in Ephesus, “Everything is fine theologically, but you are far away from me.”

  • Do what you did at the BEGINNING when you first met the Lord and you had that zeal and you were reading Scripture, you were going to Mass, praying the Rosary, telling your friends what God has done in your life

  • ASK GOD TO DO IT AGAIN IN YOUR LIFE AND TO BRING YOU BACK TO AN EVEN BETTER PLACE, BACK TO YOUR FIRST LOVE!!!

  • Pray that God puts that FIRE OF LOVE FOR HIM in your hearts

  • Maybe it’s a LOVE that YOU HAVE NEVER HAD

  • During this PERIOD OF EXILE God can speak to our hearts in a way that He has never spoken before

  • God can IGNITE our hearts in a way that He has never ignited before

  • God can SHAPE our hearts in a way that we never gave Him permission to do before

  • These checkpoints give us so much clarity and insight in what we will be reading

  • BE HERE NOW STILL WALKING TOGETHER

  • Whether are you doing it PERFECTLY or IMPERFECTLY…

  • WE ARE WALKING TOGETHER

  • PRAY FOR EACH OTHER

  • PRAY FOR FR. MIKE

  • PRAY FOR JEFF CAVINS

  • PRAY FOR ASCENSION PRESENTS