I purchased this magazine/book called Sacred Places of the Bible a few weeks ago. I’ve been reading bits and pieces out of it and have really been enjoying the photography, and the map locations, that go along with the background of the Biblical locations. One of the locations highlighted is Babylon. The background information in this section reviews how the southern kingdom of Judah was parceled off to Babylon, as the best and the brightest were exported to the East. What struck me was how far they WALKED. Their journey took them over 700 miles from home.
“Day after day, week after week, month after month, the people of Judah were marched north to Aleppo, and then east-southeast to Babylonia. None of them knew what lay in store. Many surely died along the way.”
God appointed that they would be conquered by their enemies. He allowed them to be taken away. He removed His hand of protection from them when they refused time and time again to obey His commands.
And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done. 2 Kings 24:9
Yet He also sent them a message of hope. He sent the prophet Jeremiah with a promise that the Lord would be with them, urging them to live at peace with their captors as well as they could. Jeremiah also reminded them of God’s promise of restoration for all of Israel back to the promised land.
Sometimes our choices lead us to wander beyond the protection that God offers to us. We walk our way into some very difficult and even painful consequences. Yet God is still with us. He still loves us. His desire is that we turn around and return to Him. He wants us to live gracious and peaceful lives where we are. To endure under the consequences that we’ve chosen. To grow into a deeper relationship with Him. To learn to trust Him in all circumstances. To obey His commands. To allow Him to change our hearts and to renew our minds.
It is erroneous thinking that often leads us astray. Following after leaders who are not following after God. Going along with the masses and not standing our ground on God’s truth.
As this year is winding down, my attention turns to the year ahead. Where is my life heading? Am I on the path toward the promised land or have I been marching for days, weeks and months toward Babylon? What do I need to change to be right with God? What has God been showing me or asking me to do that I’ve been disobediently arguing with Him about? What do I see as hurdle to obedience to God? What am I afraid to let go of in order to follow after Him?
Be still. Seek Him and you will find Him. Be encouraged. Press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.