(February 25, 2015)
I had a couple of thoughts when reading through these chapters. The first was on the perspective of
Babylon through this time
period. They were engaging in divining
(false divining), but they though that the gods were on their side. They conquered Israel, which gave them every
reason to think that they were on the right side of the conflict (the right side
of history?). I dare say that very few
citizens of Babylon would look at the captives
and recognize that their God was the One True God and the Savior of the world.
And yet He was. The people of
Israel, in their misery and captivity, had
something that Babylon
did not. For all of her wealth and power
and influence, Babylon
was destined to fall and her people were destined for destruction (spiritual as
well as physical).
This is something that is important for me to remember at this time in my life. I am in a point where my enemies (and it is hard to admit that I truly have enemies – sadly) who seek my destruction are ascendant in many ways. They believe that they are in the right, and have rationalized their behavior to themselves to the point where they could do just about anything to me (however painful) and feel they were still justified.
But I have been blessed with perspective that the children of
Israel did not have – I am
fortunate enough to have their story before me. And I know that, in an eternal perspective,
the children of Israel
should have looked upon their Babylonian captors with pity instead of anger. And I am trying my very best to do the same
(with varying levels of success). And I
know that the children of Israel should likewise have been grateful for their
captivity for the blessing that it brought to them and future generations, and
in that respect I am again doing my best to do the same.
The other thought that I had was about the purpose of the Babylonian captivity and dispersion. God acknowledged that He was doing what He was doing to destroy the wickedness out of His people. So many times our fiercest challenges amount to nothing more than God working to destroy the wickedness out of us. The only question is whether our hearts can endure and our hands be strong, or whether we will turn from Him and not allow Him to do His work with us. He loves us completely, and He has provided us a perfect Plan. Thus anything that goes wrong, regardless of the cause (those around us, the weather, or even an approaching Babylonian army) will all work out to our benefit if we continue to love God.