For Reflection/Discussion: Have you ever found yourself in a situation or a place you never planned to be? What was that experience like? How did you respond to it? Try to imagine what it was like for the people of Israel to see Jerusalem destroyed, God's Temple torn down, their homes set on fire, and then be forced to move to a city a thousand miles away where their language wasn't spoken, their God wasn't acknowledged, and their future was uncertain. What was God's message and instruction to the exiles? How would you have responded to such a message? As our church family goes through this time of pastoral transition, how might today's text address our situation? What can we do as a church family to make this a positive, productive time of increase, not of decrease? What are your thoughts on the observation Before God brings great blessing to his people, he first prepares them to receive it?