The Israelites. Yes, those ancient people who always seemed to be going in circles. One day they are serving God with all of their heart. The next day, we might find them building an altar to a foreign god. They are hot and then they are cold. Repentant and rebellious almost in the same breath.
Does that not describe us as well? Sorry to say it but I think it does.
It is one of these hard-heart moments that we find the Israelites being exiled. Sent away to Babylon. Even carried by God! See my last post, Exiled! part 1 to get an idea about being carried by God especially if you are facing great tribulations.
They have now been transplanted to another country. The landscape is different. The smells are confusing. The language is unintelligible. The people are uncaring. Even the air is stuffy. They don’t want to be there.
I get it. There are times when I don’t want to be where I am either. Bad job? Sinful habits? Rough marriage? Rebelling kids? Depressed? In a word, exiled.
And all you want to do is escape!
Although I do not consider myself a history buff, I do have a working knowledge of the timeline and main events of World War II. I especially like to read/watch things about prisoners. My particular favorite are stories about Colditz. Colditz was a Nazi prison. But not just any prison, it was a castle. Here are a few random pictures from the web;
That last one has props and other things used in various escape attempts.
It fascinates me every time I think about the extent to which these men went to escape! They created german uniforms. They dug tunnels. They bribed guards. They made ropes from bed sheets. They even built an airplane!!!
Although it never flew, the Colditz glider was certainly the most extravagant attempt to escape.
I wonder if any of the Israelites ever went to such lengths to escape Babylon?
Maybe I am speculating here so before I say anything else, let’s see what the Bible says. We can pick it up in verse 5 of Jeremiah 29.
5“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
They were supposed to be there and settle themselves. God wanted them to stay, not flee. Build, not destroy. Plant, not uproot. Increase, not decrease. Pray, not grumble.
I don’t know exactly how these words were received but I am sure it was not with great joy and celebration! It can be super difficult to trust God in these situations. We want to get out. But God says wait on me. We want to run free but God says stay here.
Waiting on God usually means working.
BUT God is faithful. He knows the end game here. More on that next week.
So for now, take a deep breath and get to work. Plant, build, settle. Put effort into your current situation instead of holding out for the future. Get to work!
Waiting does not mean sitting on your butt doing nothing. You only do that if you are at the bus stop.