The Exile

Moving is difficult and stressful. I know, because I recently moved and found the process to be every bit as stressful as it has been rumored to be. I got to thinking how different this would be if I was fleeing for my life. In Ukraine, Sudan, and Afghanistan, millions of people have fled for their lives amid war and chaos. According to the UN, in 2021, there were 84 million refugees in the world; that was before the Ukraine-Russia war began, so I am sure the number is higher today.

There are many refugees listed in the Bible. I find it to be a common theme throughout scripture. In Genesis 3, we find the first two people in the world being exiled from their home, their firstborn son is banished for murder and so begins story after story of people who were displaced at one time or another in their lives. Abram, Naomi and Ruth, Jesus, Joseph, David, the people of Israel, and me.

Me? Why am I a refugee?

All of humanity has gone astray from a relationship with God, just like an exile. Paul uses this analogy to illustrate how we become part of the family of God.

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22)

I have experienced visiting a foreign country and coming to the point where I desired to go home. But here is a picture of living in a foreign country, alienated and a stranger, and then coming into the family where you belong. What a homecoming! Have you experienced this type of homecoming?

-Tony High