In which rejecting the Messiah makes sense (Exile pt3)

by Craig on August 15, 2011

Some of those in Exile saw the defeat and Exile of Israel as a defeat of God.source

Some of those in Exile saw the defeat and Exile of Israel as a defeat of God. The popular press had it that Marduk, and the other gods of Babylon were now stronger than Yahweh.

Being a time of many gods they wouldn’t have turned no faith at all, but would have followed another faith and another god. And when in Babylon…

This is the third in a series on the Exile of Israel, part one is here, and two is here.

It would have been easy to forget the miraculous touches of God on their history. They could have forgotten in the dark what God showed them in the light.

In reality, Yahweh had brought about the Exile – it was a present touch of God in the history of the nation. In one of those strange “200% ways” Exile was 100% God’s doing and 100% Israel’s fault.

They were there because they messed up.
They were there because God intervened and placed them there.
Both were true and inextricably tied.

So for some, the Exile turned them away from God. But for most it brought them back to him.

From the beginning of the history of Israel it was obvious that God was dealing with what he called a “stiff-necked” people. Time and time again he showed himself strong on their behalf and just as often they disregarded or forgot his love.

Time and time again God showed himself strong on behalf of Israel and just as often they disregarded or forgot his love.source

The Israel before the Exile was a nation with a faith already having reached a zenith and getting weaker with each passing year. The Israel after Exile was doggedly determined to have nothing to do with any other God.

And then there was Jesus.

In an Israelite world post Exile, he was seen as both the answer – and the problem.

For 500 years they had waited for a new Kingdom to come…
but not the kingdom of which he spoke.

He claimed to be God…
and that had to be blasphemy.
Believing his claim had to be idolatry…
and they knew where idolatry led.

He seemed to reject the wisdom of the Rabbi’s and Pharisees…
they were put in place in Exile to protect the faith…
and this Jesus of Nazareth placed his own wisdom above them…
so for the faith to be protected…
didn’t he have to be refuted?

It seems so obvious to us that he was the Messiah of Israel.
Exile explains why so much of Israel was so confused by him.

The Exile of Israel to Babylon, and their return to the land, was a major part of “the fullness of time”.

Oh, if they could only have seen with better eyes what God was doing.
So much that was mystery, and threat, and seemingly wrong when it was right, would’ve made sense.
Oh ye of little faith.

Oh, if I could only see with better eyes what God is doing.
So much of what is mystery, and threat, and seemingly wrong when it is right, would make sense.

Oh me…

of little faith.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Debra August 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm

They had on their religious blinders, those Israelites. That’s the problem. And they still have them on, except for those who have “eyes to see.”

I’m with you: give us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand what You are up to. Because You promised that “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he reveals his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

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Craig August 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm

and there was that too – their darned spiritual blinders – yet another trait that, at least I sometimes, share with them. But at least from this study of exile – I found some good in at least some of the Pharisees – and some reason why it was so hard for so many of them to accept our Lord is Messiah. We always get all pointy fingered when we speak of the Jews or the Pharisees in the Bible. And I think too – it’s a lot easier to believe in a prophecy that is yet to come true – then when it’s actually coming true right in front of your eyes. But in the end – I’m with you – give me years to hear – and the heart to understand. God bless you Debra – and know that I have prayed for youツ

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Debra August 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Thanks Craig. Prayers welcomed and appreciated. I get scared at night for some reason. Living in the upper hood doesn’t help :) But that’s where I’m planted. While you’re enduring your sleepless time, say a little prayer for me. Because during my sleepless time I prayed for you. I said, “Lord, now I know how Craig feels.”

On those Pharisees… I think Jesus was pointy fingered when he spoke of them :( That’s where I get my attitude from: Jesus.

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Craig August 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I know they were a rotten bunch – those Pharisees. But even the rotten bunches have the good ones – there was Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea, and who knows how many others. I’m not excusing their hardness of heart – but I get why it might’ve been hard to believe what was right in front of their eyes. And, ,y friend, when I him up tonight at three o’clock in the morning central time – I promise to say a prayerツGod bless.

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Martha Orlando August 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Before amazing grace entered our lives, we were all blind to God’s truth. We were all in exile.

Craig, I so appreciate your perspective and lessons regarding the exile of the Jews. It has really opened my mind to understand scripture, the idea of the Messiah in their minds, and why so many rejected Christ. Thank you for your keen insights and wonderful writing!

Blessings, my friend!

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Craig August 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Martha – that is awfully well put – we all were in exile before hearing of Our Lord. Adam and Eve were exiled from the garden – we are their children – without grace we are in exile. That is beautiful theology – thank you for that Martha! And Martha – I never really understood why looking for the Messiah was such a big thing for the Jews – it takes understanding exile – to understand that. I’m exactly like you – understanding exile helped me understand. Thank you again for your kind words – and blessings to you too, my friend.

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Martha Orlando August 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Craig, your response made my day. I have been stressed with my mother-in-law being in the hospital and I wasn’t even certain that the feedback I left you was even coherent. How great is our God! He used my weakness to make me strong!

Thankful for you,
Martha

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Craig August 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm

sometimes the best theology comes from a heart that’s broken. ツ God bless!!

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Michelle August 16, 2011 at 4:28 am

“Oh, if I could only see with better eyes what God is doing.
So much of what is mystery, and threat, and seemingly wrong when it is right, would make sense.”

Just read Ann’s blog not long ago and her story about the white stallion. “We see only a sliver of the sum. We cannot see how the bad might be good. God is sovereign and He is good and He sees and work all things together for good.”

You are both writing the same thing! God is so good. Guess He wants me to know this. Don’t know why, but lesson noted.

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Craig August 16, 2011 at 1:37 pm

it’s funny – I’ve noticed that – but Ann Voskamp is the one who changed everything for me as far as blogging is concerned – and has blessed me so greatly. So maybe she’s rubbed off on me – maybe sometimes I think in the same direction that she does – I can never write the way she does – but maybe I can think the same – sometimes – when I step out of my own wayツ

there was even one post – it was the “Father of lights” post – back in January – or Christmas time – we wrote on nearly the same identical topic – with nearly identical points – and even used the very same picture. And it was a link up post to a walk with him Wednesday – and I wonder sometimes what people thought when they saw that my post was nearly identical to hers – down to the picture. And back then I was writing my posts the previous day – and posting at midnight for the following day – so I had no idea what her post was going to be about. Anyway – it’s just funny that you might say that. and I yield right of way to Ann’s message – every – single – time. Her white horse beats my exile – and I happily lose that battle ツ

God bless you Michelle

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Michelle August 17, 2011 at 4:31 am

At Bible Study today we read from a book by Elizabeth George and there were a couple of passages that brought this to mind again! I think I’m being told! 😉

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Craig August 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm

and if I remember correctly, Michelle, “I think I’m being told!’ might have been but Jonah said – so just in case – beware of big fish! Just sayin ツ

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Debbie August 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Craig, I heart that you show us the Pharisees in this way. Maybe because I have been misunderstood and misjudged before, maybe because I can see myself always in what I want to point out is wrong in someone else . . . I’d rather think about it like this. That there were reasons and not all of them came from a bad place. Thank you so much for that!
And you and Ann coinciding at times? I think it’s the Holy Spirit having His way, speaking the same messages to His writers. :)
God bless you!

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Craig August 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Debbie – Debra was right – we can get a pretty good hint that the Pharisees were a bad bunch of people because Jesus called them out so often. It was their beginning that was so noble – by the time of our Lord so much politics, so much corruption, so much showing off and lording it over became the rule of the day. But that being said – not every Pharisee was bad. And probably a bunch of them weren’t. There is even a thought that our friend, James, was a Pharisee – a high priest even. Every bad bunch has its good apples ツ

and about coinciding with Ann – I heart that it happened sometimes – but as I said – my words will always yield right-of-way to hers. God bless you Debbie!

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