• Download


First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org


Series: A Journey through the Old Testament [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

August 8, 2021

Introductory Comments:

Have you ever done something and you had to live with the consequences of that action? I’m sure that this is true for all of us. Perhaps it pains you to even think about this. I remember once when I was in middle school there was a guy that was kind of bullying me (not badly, but kind of) and I was tired of it, so I insulted him. That didn’t go well for me. There were consequences for my actions. I remember another time, when I was a kid, I disrespected my mother in front of my grandfather. There were consequences for my actions. The decisions that we make have consequences; sometimes those consequences are drastic and devastating. 

Well, the people of Israel and Judah would learn that there are consequences for their actions. God would bring about something drastic and devastating because of the decisions that His people made over a period of years and years. 

Today, as we continue our journey in the Old Testament, we are going to discuss the exile of God’s people. [on screen]

Before we go any further, let’s go to God in prayer and ask Him to speak to us. 


Well, here we are on our journey. We have almost come to the end, but we’re not quite there yet. We’ve learned that God created the world; mankind messed up the world through sin; God called a particular people to be His own chosen people; they messed up things as well (many times); God gave them judges, kings, and prophets; and all the while God is pointing them to their need to be brought back to Him. Of course, we know that there’s only One who could truly bring them back to Him, and His name is Jesus the Messiah. 

Now, as we near the end, we learn that Israel’s problems finally catch up with them. We will learn today that they will experience exile. By the way, to be exiled means that you are somehow cast out of your home country or land. You are taken away from the place where you belong. 

So, first, let’s look at the . . .

I. Major elements [on screen]

First, . . .

1. God brought judgment on His people because of their sin, resulting in them going into exile. [on screen]

Church, we have to understand that God was the one who brought this judgment upon His people. Even though they were conquered by evil empires, it was the holy God of the universe who brought this judgment on them. 

Listen to what we read concerning the conquering of Israel (the Northern kingdom):

1 Chronicles 5:26 says, “So the God of Israel roused the spirit of King Pul (that is, Tiglath-pileser) of Assyria, and he took the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh into exile.”[on screen]

This passage says that God roused the spirit of King Pul. 

Listen to what we read concerning the conquering of Judah (the Southern kingdom of God’s people):

Jeremiah 25:8-9 says, “Therefore, this is what the Lord of Armies says: ‘Because you have not obeyed my words, I am going to send for all the families of the north’—this is the Lord’s declaration—‘and send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will bring them against this land, against its residents, and against all these surrounding nations, and I will completely destroy them and make them an example of horror and scorn, and ruins forever.’” [on screen]

In this passage, God calls Nebuchadnezzar, “my servant.” God is using Nebuchadnezzar for His purposes to carry out judgment against His people. 

Moses prophesied this moment for God’s people:

Deuteronomy 28:62-63 says, “Though you were as numerous as the stars of the sky, you will be left with only a few people, because you did not obey the Lord your God. Just as the Lord was glad to cause you to prosper and to multiply you, so he will also be glad to cause you to perish and to destroy you. You will be ripped out of the land you are entering to possess.” [on screen]

Moses warned of this moment and this is exactly what happened. 

Listen, church: God does not inherently owe us anything! He is not obligated to bless His people! When we are not faithful to Him, there are consequences. The people of Israel learned this the hard way. May we learn it before we suffer drastic and devastating consequences. 

Next, understand that . . .

2. Multiple empires conquered and occupied Israel and Judah. [on screen]

God would progressively carry out His judgment against His people, first with the Northern kingdom and then with the Southern kingdom. 

Assyria conquered Israel (the Northern kingdom) [on screen] in the early to mid 700s BC. 

King Pul (Tiglath-pileser), whom we read earlier, was an Assyrian. 

Babylon conquered Judah (the Southern kingdom) [on screen]in the late 500s BC. 

King Nebuchadnezzar, whom we read earlier, was a Babylonian king. 

Persia would later conquer Babylon [on screen] and would have control over all the former Babylonian empire (including Israel and Judah). 

We’ll hear some more about Persian kings in the final sermon in this series. 

By the way, after the Old Testament, the Greek empire would have control of the land, and then later the Romans would have control of the land during the days of the New Testament (that’s just a little more biblical history for you). 

Finally, we learn that . . .

3. The tribes of Israel were scattered forever and the tribes of Judah were in exile for 70 years. [on screen]

Well, how do we know that the Northern kingdom (Israel) was scattered forever? Primarily because we never hear about them again. They were scattered so badly that we don’t hear about them anymore in the Old Testament. 

Concerning Judah, Jeremiah prophesied in . . .

Jeremiah 25:11,“This whole land will become a desolate ruin, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.” [on screen]

Jeremiah’s prophecy would come true. The people of Judah would be away from their homeland, under Babylonian captivity for seventy years. 

These were drastic and devastating consequences for the people of God that were brought on because of their rejection of God’s ways. This is the exile of God’s people. 

Now, let’s discover the . . .

II. Major truths [on screen]

1. Sin leads to judgment. [on screen]

Proverbs 14:12 reminds us of this, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” [on screen]

There are consequences to our sin and those consequences are primarily judgment and death. 

Galatians 6:7-8 speaks to this truth as well. Paul says, “Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.” [on screen]

God’s chosen people discovered this and we should recognize this as well before we suffer great consequences!

2. God is directly involved in the outcome of His people. [on screen]

God doesn’t need us, but we desperately need Him. 

Perhaps this is obvious, but it’s worth saying: we cannot thrive as a church or as individual Christians without the blessings of God. 

We need God in every aspect of our lives. Every little thing that happens to God’s people is under His sovereign hand of control. 

Remember Joseph’s story and how God worked through him? Joseph said in Genesis 50:20, “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.” [on screen]

So, let us seek the blessings of God, or we may very well suffer the judgment of God. 

We must also look to Him and His ways, lest we be exiled or scattered forever (many churches no longer exist today).

Now, let us see how . . .

III. The Gospel speaks[on screen]

1. As the people of Israel and Judah were exiled because of their sin, so also, we are exiled from God because of our sin. [on screen]

The prophet Isaiah said this of the people of God and it can be true of us as well: Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities are separating you from your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not listen.” [on screen]

Listen, folks; we must understand this: our sins are a major problem!

We were meant to be at home with God but our own sin caused us to be exiled. When we are in sin, we are not at home. We are lost, wandering, and homeless in our sin. 

2. The only one who can fix our exile is the one who suffered the greatest exile. [on screen]

Remember what the prophet Isaiah said about Jesus? He said in Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him.” [on screen]

Jesus Himself said while He hung on the cross, in Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” [on screen]

Jesus was despised and rejected. He was killed by his own people. He was abandoned by God the Father while He hung on the cross because He took our place of judgment. He suffered the ultimate exile. Because Jesus was exiled, we can be rescued. Because He suffered, we can receive blessings. That is the Gospel. 

Concluding Thoughts:

Let us understand the seriousness of sin and the exile it brings. That takes us to our bottom line:

Bottom Line: The people of God were exiled by God because they rejected God[on screen]


God’s people were exiled because of their rejection of God. We too will also suffer exile when we reject God and His ways. We may not suffer exile from our land (although we might), but we definitely suffer something much greater: exile from our heavenly home with God. We were designed for that home but we can never return if we remain in sin. 

Challenge yourself this week to live out the truths of this sermon in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Determine your location. [on screen]

Where are you right now? Are you living in exile? Are you living away from God? Do you need to come home? Do you need to be rescued? Jesus is the ultimate rescuer! He can bring you home!

2. Seek out the exiles. [on screen]

We need to seek out both those who have wandered away from God and those who have never been close to God. They are exiled from the home that God designed them to have. 

Jude 20-23 says this, “But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. Have mercy on those who waver; save others by snatching them from the fire . . .” [on screen]

This week, seek out the exile. Seek out those who need to be brought back to God!


If you’re exiled, don’t remain lost, don’t remain spiritually homeless. Come home to Jesus!

(Gospel presentation)

(closing prayer)

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The text contained in this sermon is solely owned by its author. The reproduction, or distribution of this message, or any portion of it, should include the author’s name. The author intends to provide free resources in order to inspire believers and to assist preachers and teachers in Kingdom work.