Exiles Restored

You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says Yahweh, and I will turn again your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, says Yahweh; and I will bring you again to the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive. Jeremiah 29:13'14 WEB.

Israel was on a slow downward spiral of backsliding. They were worshipping other gods like asheroth, baal, and chemosh when given a chance. Under King David's rule, Israel had been one nation, united under God Almighty. Then his son Solomon was led astray by his (seven hundred) foreign wives. By the time David's grandson Rehoboam became king, the nation had split into two pieces. The ten tribes that split off were still called Israel, while the two that remained loyal to David's line were called Judah.

Israel immediately set up altars to worship golden calves as their god (1Kings 12:32). Soon they were overrun and taken into exile by Assyria (2 Kings 18:1). Judah followed the Lord a while longer, but when king Rehoboam became strong (2 Chronicles 12:1), they forsook the Lord as well. So they were carried off into exile by Babylon.

Judah and Israel were both sent into exile because they ignored the word God had sent them repeatedly by His prophets. They continued trying to serve the Lord and the other gods as well. Yet, Jesus warned us that you can't do that:

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to one and despise the other. You aren't able to serve God and Mammon." (Luke 16:13).

So countries invaded them and carried off the wealth of the land and most of the people. Yet, even after that, God restored them as one nation when the people humbled themselves and sought Him once again.

There is always a fork in the road. In life, there are two paths to choose from: one leads to destruction, and the other to eternal life. We all have to choose. Sin has consequences, and being saved doesn't automatically give you an escape from your actions. Paul wrote: "Don't be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that will he also reap." (Galatians 6:7).

Sometimes we ignore the will and word of the Lord for us. We intentionally go the other way, knowing full well what we are doing. Then consequences come as a direct result of our disobedience. I speak from personal experience. Jesus Himself said: "Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and don't do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15).

Still, the Lord is our Redeemer. He will bring you back and restore what has been taken away when we change our course and return to Him. If you ask, you'll be forgiven. So actively seek God, build that relationship. Learn to listen when He is speaking. Include Him in your decisions, and invite Him to be a part of your day. He promised us: "You shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive me of my sins. Draw my heart to You in a deeper way. Let me live in the fullness of Your grace. Guide me, Lord, and I'll follow. Teach me, and I will learn. Send me, and I will go. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org