Friday, October 28, 2011

The Return

"In those days and in that time, says the LORD, the people of Israel shall come, they & the people of Judah together; they shall come weeping as they seek the LORD their God.  They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, and they shall come and join themselves to the LORD by an everlasting covenant that'll never be forgotten."
(Jeremiah 50:4-5)

The exile was one of the most difficult times for the people of Israel.  Multiple generations were carried away from their homeland for 70+ years.  Forced to grow up in a foreign culture, it was hard for them to stay immersed in their faith.  The question of "WHY?" echoed loudly from many.  Prophets like Jeremiah & Isaiah saw the exile as God's chastisement & cleansing (which was long overdue).  God wanted them to return to Him with their whole hearts.  God had not forgotten or abandoned them.  God was changing them... for the better (though they didn't recognize that at first).

In Jeremiah 50, the prophet speaks of the time when the people will return to Israel.  Their physical return will match their spiritual return to Him.  They'll come hand in hand with their brothers and sisters (whom they'd been divided from before).  They will be weeping - presumably over their past sins & failures, and their estrangement from God.  They will intentionally seek the LORD.   They'll have to ask the way to Zion (home), because they've been living so far away for so long.  They'll turn their faces toward Home - an expression that indicates their hearts & minds have resolved to accomplish this endeavor.  And finally, they'll make an everlasting covenant with God... on that will never be forgotten.


Thousands of years may have passed since that specific time in Israel's history.  Yet I dare say their "return" experience holds lessons for us even today.  We may not be in physical exile, but we often become distanced from God, spiritually.  The Scriptures tell us that it's God's desire for an intimate relationship with ALL of us.  At those times in our own journeys when we recognize our distance and seek to be restored, we should do so with sincerity of heart (and tears may flow).  We may need to ask about the way back (from spiritual friends & faithful people we trust).  Resolve to do so.  Set your face & heart on Him!  For God will always welcome us back.  Always.  His love (and forgiveness) is everlasting. 

It's never too late...

No comments: