How did we see God move this week as we tried to live out the Spirit’s leading? What challenges did we encounter? What victories can we celebrate?

Jer. 29:1   These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.  2 This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem.  3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said:  4 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.  6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.  7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.  8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD.

Jer. 29:10   “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  14 I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Recall from Sunday:

29:1-4 – Embrace God’s hand in exile

29:5-7 – Build for shalom

29:8-11 – Persevere

29:12-14 – Pray

Reflect: What sticks out to you personally from the passage?

What impacted you on a personal level from Sunday’s sermon?

God promised to hear Israel’s prayers and be found by them when they sought him. What was one time when saw God clearly answer your prayers with a yes? What was one time he answered in a way you didn’t expect?

Even in exile, God’s people could still be a blessing to all nations as they sought the shalom of their city. In what challenging spheres in your life is God calling you to bring peace, wholeness, and flourishing? How might you do that?

God sent Jeremiah to tell the exiled Israelites that their exile was on purpose; that God sent them into Babylon as part of his long-term plan to form them into his people. Have you been through a painful experience that you saw God redeem for your good? Is someone near you going through a painful experience that you see God may be using for their ultimate good? What is a wise and loving way to help them see that?

If your group hears the Spirit calling them to be agents of shalom in certain arenas in their lives, help your group members identify one person or situation they are going to step into this week to give a blessing from God this week.

If your group is in the midst of the deep pains of our exile life, come together to seek God’s Spirit to reveal God’s purpose for allowing this pain, and for the strength to persevere in challenging circumstances. Form a plan together for how you as a group will seek God’s face this week.