“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
After 598 B.C. there existed a significant tension between those Jews deported to Babylon and those who remained in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Jews thought themselves favored by God and the future of Judaism when, in fact, it is those who would embrace and practice their faith while in exile that became the bearers of Judah’s hope for the future and the object of God’s attention. God’s purposes are fulfilled not through a religious people who seek to cocoon themselves in “holy buildings” and “holy places” but, rather, through a church of exiled faithful that disperse and immerse themselves into their cultural Babylon.