Aim: To learn to live with faith's counter-intuitive vision.
Doctrine: God would have His church bless the very world that oppresses her, because this glorifies and ''exonerates'' the Lord, and because by this obedience, the gospel spreads.
Exegesis: Three ways God surprises His people: by communicating with us when we are ''down and out'' (vv. 1-4); by encouraging our productivity when we are alienated from ''home'' (vv. 5-6); by shocking us out of our natural religious sensibilities (vv. 7-9).
Further application: How to practice God's strange commands: quit feeling sorry for myself, and recognize that the heavenly life fully transcends the fallen world.
Key verse: v. 7 ''And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.''
Rev. Mark Henninger received his Masters of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and he has been Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois for more than 25 years.