In which they (and I) should have seen it coming

by Craig on August 11, 2011

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Egypt had welded Israel into a strong people.
The Philistines and the trials of Judges unified them into a nation.
The ups and downs of Saul, David and Solomon built a strong kingdom…
not quite a Babylon, Egypt, or Greece, but large and independent.

Then, as fast as a lightning bolt splits the sky…
as a result of their long and slow turning away from God…
they were overrun and led into an Exile…
and it wasn’t only a defeat for them…
but in their minds and the all those around them…
a defeat of Yahweh.

I should never think that I represent only the kingdom of me, me, me, and also me.

The Israelites were so proud of their God.  They thought that mere association with him would be enough to keep them “high and mighty”. I know this, not just because of study, but because I know of Exile. I know we can scale the heights, then because of arrogance, be brought lower than we would ever have thought.

But Exile was not meant to be permanent.

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It was a time of refining.

It took more than a thousand years of slipping further and further away…
until finally God brought about destruction…
and they destroyed themselves.

As early as Deuteronomy they were warned…

If you forget Yahweh your God and follow other gods, serving and worshipping them, I forewarn you this day that you will perish utterly.  Like the nations which Yahweh destroys before you, so shall you too perish for not heeding the voice of Yahweh, your God.” (Deuteronomy 8:19,20)

Deep down they had to know, but they acted as if the warning weren’t iron clad.

It was.

In my life I knew something like this was a possibility.
I was well aware that he wants me in the canyon of his will (here)
shooting arrows at the target placed squarely down the center lane. (here)

I knew all along that his Word is full of warnings for wanderers…

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Oh me of little faith.

I (and they) knew the danger of idolatry – and still set up idols.
They (and I) thought the warnings were overblown,
and disregarded them…
and emphasized all the cheery verses of love, peace and joy…
thinking the “judgment verses” certainly couldn’t include me (or them).

But they did.

And they do.

Yesterdays post was all fun and funny and light and airy (here)

Today’s is sobering and true.

They were on the verge of greatness,
and in a blink,
they were obliterated.

And all of that pride…

squeezed out like so much toothpaste.

Exile was a dreadful thing.

And it’s the Exile that affected how the Jews…

in “the fullness of time”…

viewed Jesus.

So tomorrow, a little more on Exile…

Please come back.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn August 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

Dear Craig,

I like how you brought the fall of the nation of Israel down to the personal level. I don’t mean down to you, although you did use yourself as the example, but down to all of us who thought God didn’t mean us when He wrote the verses of judgement. It made me bow low.

After breakfast this morning I read Joshua’s address to the people of Israel after they had successfully conquered the Promised Land. It can be found in Joshua 23. Joshua goes through all the Lord had done for them and then says, “But as surely as the Lord your God has given you the good things He promised, He will also bring disaster on you if you disobey Him.” v. 15

Keep bringing the lessons home,
Dawn

PS Yes, the same son who wore the shirt is the won I can’t beat in chess. He’s really smart, but He’s gotten a handle on how to kill the weeds of arrogance from the ground that his IQ was especially fond of supporting.

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Craig August 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

it all has to be brought down to the personal level – the Bible – should I ever forget to bring something down to the personal level – and just leave it dangling in the theoretical or theological – please let me know. Hold me accountable. Everything has to be brought home. and they really should’ve known better – especially the southern kingdom of Judah – after watching the northern kingdom of Israel fall to Assyria first – they saw that horror – and still they proceeded down the path that led to exile. People – so silly. God bless you and your son and all of yours Dawn.

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A. August 11, 2011 at 11:09 am

I am grateful for these exile lessons. So much can be learned in the wilderness and foreign country and I need to learn more. That place of relearning is a place of gaining freedom, that much I do know. Thank you, Craig, and I am very much looking forward to the lessons here!

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Craig August 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm

A., And the big thing – in the context of the “fullness of time” – if Our Lord had come before the exile I think maybe Israel would’ve accepted him – or maybe they would’ve treated him like the other prophets – they don’t have a good record there. But they wouldn’t have crucified him – and we would not now be Christian. So much weaving of history that God did to get to the fullness of time. Exile was a must have piece of weaving. God bless you A.

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Martha Orlando August 11, 2011 at 11:40 am

This may be a sobering post, Craig, but it is enlightening and informative, too. Sadly, it made me think of this country and the treacherous path down which we are currently being led. So many have, in their pride and power, forgotten about God. I find myself praying daily that it’s not too late for revival and repentance.

I look forward to the next post!

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Craig August 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Martha, I join you in that prayer for revival and repentance – and I’m sure there will be much – but sadly, it’s been a long time since this country has been a “Christian” country. I used to be very involved politically – VERY. Now I’m much more about love than politics – politics is almost the anti-thesis of love. And it’s a hard enough job keeping just me in line – much less everybody else. Thank you for your heart Martha, and thank you for reading, and God bless and keep you.

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Debbie August 12, 2011 at 2:22 am

I really love lessons like this that show me how He was working in it all, all the time. That nothing is wasted. Thank you, Craig and God bless you!

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