The Way of Exile

Read: Daniel 2:1–49; Psalm 137:1–9

The people of God are in exile. In exile it is easy to feel as if God has abandoned you and that was the temptation that the Jewish people were wrestling with. Sure they messed up and they had the words of a prophet to guide them but doubt begins to creep in and you begin to question, “is God really there at all?” The activity and the call of God does not end or go silent in the realities of exile. There is a way in which God called his people to live while they were in exile and it was not one of resistance or capitulation but a third way, one that sought the good of their place of exile. This is what is exhibited in the story of Daniel: they participated in the workings of Babylon, even working directly for the King; but yet when allegiance to God was challenged, they maintained their loyalty to their Lord.

Exile gives a unique opportunity to the people of God in that even though they are “out of their element” they can exhibit the love and faithfulness of God to those around them. Instead of the Israelites being situated in their own kingdom, with the temptations of comfort and complacency masquerading as the “people of the most high God,” they find themselves faced with being resident aliens, called to either be faithful to God and show holiness or to simply meld into the culture surrounding them.

This call is at the heart of what Jesus intended for the life of the disciple. We are citizens of another kingdom, Jesus’s kingdom, but yet we are called to live, work, and navigate the world around us as resident representatives of His kingdom. It may feel like a stretch to fully say that we, as Christians in America, are in exile… we have not been ripped from our homeland, but we should sense a longing of the true place that we belong, yet are called to good of where we are now. Just as the Israelites were called, we are called to live in this “way of exile” as we represent king Jesus through faithfulness to Him and loving the way he instructs us to love.


  1. Did you learn anything new about Daniel from the devotional or the videos? Explain.
  2. Do you ever find yourself wanting to put trust in kings or leaders of the world instead of God?
  3. Often when we think of “love your enemies,” we think about it on a micro-level, such as just being nice to someone we may not like. However, what did it mean for Israel to “seek the good” of an entire nation of enemies who had inflicted great suffering on them? What does this mean about loving our enemies on a “macro-level” today?
  4. What are some practical ways we can live in the “third way” of seeking the good of the “kingdom” we find ourselves in while still remaining loyal to God?

Supporting Resources