Lockdown; a short exile

Chapter 13

Good Monday Morning to this week 14 of 2020

Isn’t it interesting how quickly we turn to scriptures of the Old Testament, to the people to Israel, to the prophets as we continue to face restrictions in our daily lives?

There is no real comparison to the Babylonian exile of the Jews, but let’s just see if we can yet learn from them, extract one of two ideas from their time in exile.  For example
Ezekiel’s vision “the Lord is there”  passages full of the echoes of God’s sovereignty.

This sovereign God resolved that he would be known and acknowledged. Approximately 65 occurrences and variations. “Then they will know that I am the Lord”. A divine promise that God will be known through the restoration and spiritual renewal of Israel.

God’s total sovereignty is also evident in his mobility. He is not limited to the temple in Jerusalem. He can respond to his people by leaving his sanctuary in Israel, and he can graciously condescend to visit his exiled children in Babylon.

Yes, there was great lamentation, complaining and dreaming of the better days, the days of freedom and the days of the “home” land:
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, we also wept, when we remembered Zion. We hung our lyres on the willows in its midst. For there those who carried us away captive required of us a song; and those who tormented us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember you, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy. (Psalms 137:1-6)

Just as God’s people were in his hand when they were in the promised land singing psalms by the river Jordan and under the authority of divinely anointed kings, so are they still in his hand while exiled to a foreign land, in mourning by the rivers of Babylon, and subject to foreign kings who are also ultimately under God’s authority. In other words, the first prerequisite for God’s people to survive and serve him in exile conditions is an expanded belief in the sovereignty of God.

The exiles are then given God’s instructions through Jeremiah as to how they are to live faithfully in exile. Preston Manning brings it down to four points: 

Settle Down and Build
Settle down, build houses and families, engage in productive work (agriculture) that you may increase in number and not decrease.

Pray
God is reachable by prayer from Babylon just as he was from Judea. Pray specifically for the peace and prosperity of the place where God has relocated you so that you may prosper from its prosperity.

Disregard False Spiritual Advice
You are to disregard the voices and visions of false and immoral prophets who counsel you to act contrary to these instructions. (wow this does sound familiar to all the conspiracy videos and texts we are getting currently)

Trust the Promises
Lastly, God, through Jeremiah, seeks to restore the courage and morale of the exiles by challenging them to trust in his promise of their ultimate spiritual and political restoration.

There is spiritual edification in recognizing that God stays faithful in his covenants, that he forgives all sin despite whatever historical or sociopolitical circumstance.”
James Mikołajczyk

I wish you a blessed Monday as many of your a stuck in some form of restriction. I wish you the care of the Almighty as worries and trouble keep trying to make their way into your heart to affect you faith, your joy and your trust in His promises.

Philemon

 

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