~~~ We serve a big God! He is faithful and nothing takes Him by surprise. Amen? He has each one of us in all our unique situations taken care of. He’s bigger than our fears and our frustrations. And He loves us! ~~~
For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land…And I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord….for they will return to Me with their whole heart. (Jeremiah 24:6-7)
God spoke this to Jeremiah after Israel was taken captive and carried off by Babylon. The captivity — any captivity — sounds awful. Israel was in its own land, Babylon comes along and fights gainst them, destroys them, captures them, and removes them from their homes.
These were God’s chosen people. Albeit, they had not followed God’s Law, His directions for generations, but still they were His people.
Any nation these days that gets treated like Israel was back then with Nebuchadnezzar is unlikely to be seen as God’s chosen.
Even the Babylonians taunted Israel with, “Where is your God now?”
But they were God’s chosen. And He was with them.
Difficult as it was for them, heartbreaking as it was for God, Israel was right were they needed to be…and led there by the hand of God.
Israel was abslutely God’s chosen — before, during, and after the captivity. I think they liked it that way. I think they wanted to be His chosen. But before the captivity, they weren’t listening very well. They weren’t heeding the multiple warnings. They liked their status in God’s eyes, yet they admired the world around them too. And they thought maybe they could have both. God called that adultery. No, they couldn’t have both. God told them that, over and over again.
Into captivity they went. I’m sure it didn’t feel like God was with them.
False prophets told them it would be a short time. They were God’s chosen, after all. God would restore them, get them back to Israel in short order.
True prophets told them it would be a while. Build houses, settle in Babylon. God would restore them, get them back to Israel. But first, He would use the captivity to restore their hearts.
And that’s what He did. When, after 70 years, He led His chosen people back to their chosen place, back to Israel, they rebuilt (through many trials and hindrances), then they found the Law — God’s Law. They held a great assembly and read the Law to the people. The people mourned, cried, and repented. And then? They rejoiced and celebrated. God was faithful. God is faithful.
And here’s my lesson. I am like Israel. Sometimes, I’m like them before the captivity. I like being called and loved by God, saved by Jesus, but there are things in this world I’d like too. I think I listen to God when He warns me off them, but I think sometimes I push for my own way anyway. And I think sometimes, I can’t even hear Him for one reason or another.
Other times, I’m like Israel in captivity. I’m shocked, disappointed, confused at how and why I’m seemingly overpowered or in circumstances that are painful or don’t make sense. When I seek God, all I hear is that He’s with me. He’s faithful. I know that to be true, but I want out. I want to go back to that place and time where I easily enjoyed being His chosen. I know He may be doing a work in me, in my heart, but it hurts.
Then there are the times of restoration. I’m like Israel returning to her rightful place. I’m in unity with my God as He rebuilds me and I join with Him by repentance and submission. There are challenges and hindrances. He fights for me, builds my faith, and sees me through. And we celebrate together. I rejoice and He sings over me.
God is faithful. He sets His eyes on me for good. He brings me again to His land. He gives me a heart to know Him, for He is my Lord. And I return to Him with my whole heart.