Just like the ancient Jews, we all have experienced separation from love ones, our homes, and spiritually speaking from God. And we have experienced the restoring love that Jesus brings as we turn towards Him. The ancient Jews were carried into exile away from their homeland. We know that ten tribes were dispersed in the 700’s BC but the other two clans were kept together by the Babylonians (Iraq) and were allowed to return to Israel between 536 and 445 BC by the conquering Assyrians. From the passages of Jeremiah, Ezra and Nehemiah we gain great insight, as well as historical facts, as to how these people of God responded to their time of deportation.
Jeremiah wrote a letter to those in exile saying to grow where you are planted and reminding them that God had not forgotten them (Jeremiah 29). God used King Cyrus to release the Israelites and it is recorded that the priest Ezra (Ezra 1:1-5) brought back a group. Later in the book of Nehemiah (chapter 8) it is recorded that Ezra read from the scrolls and the people worshiped God.
Biblical history is fascinating and insightful. As you think through these passages for Sunday, think about how God has restored you and wants you to walk with Him.
Things to Ponder:
Do you feel isolated from God? What would returning to Him look like?
How do you show reverence for the Bible with your life? Do you read it, love it and live by it? Think about the way you treat your copy. Do you treat it with respect?
God demonstrates that even governments are subject to Him ultimately. How can you pray for our government and those around the world?