In which Exile overshadows Exodus

by Craig on August 16, 2011

Wherever our walk of faith brings us, we have that moment when we were saved by God himself, out of slavery and into promise.source

There was Abraham who followed the voice of God when no one else heard it.

There was David who reigned and ruled in a higher and nobler fashion than even the king of mythical Camelot.

There was Solomon who built their pride and joy, the Temple in Jerusalem, and whose wisdom was unsurpassed.

But above all these there was the time when God bent low and led the nation out of slavery from a king not their own in Egypt, to a land “flowing with milk and honey”

And we’ve all had that moment. No?

Wherever our walk of faith brings us…
we have that moment when we were saved by God himself…
out of slavery and into promise…
we share their moment.

And through the years, their moment became their confession of faith.

During the time of the Judges when they were failing and falling with regularity they were reminded of it (Judges 6:7-10).

At the crowning of their very first king they remembered (1Samuel 10:17,18).

When the great Temple was built and Solomon prayed…
strangely…
for the deliverance of a not yet Exiled nation…
he brought to mind the Exodus (1Kings8: 51-53).

As their kingdom was in the slow decline that led to the Exile they were warned of, they were reminded again (2Kings 17: 36).

Just before their Exile,
as Jeremiah was cautioning them of their impending doom…
he couched it in the terms of that one. great. event (JER 2:6).

And when Exile came they still were reminded by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 20:4-7).

But as important as that one moment was, it was to eventually be joined by another equally important event.  How could that be?  The Exodus was the moment that gave them a new identity – the Exodus defined Israel…

and now Jeremiah said what must have seemed shocking…

to the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the last years before the Exile,

Jeremiah prophesied again and again that this…

Jeremiah prophesied again and again that Exile would happensource

was inevitable.

and it would define them moreso than the Exodus.

Days will surely come, says the LORD, when it no longer will be said, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites out of Egypt’, but rather, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites out of the north and out of all the countries from which he had banished them.’ I will bring them back to the land which I gave their fathers. (Jeremiah 16:14,15)

The Exodus remained an anchor of the Jewish faith, but when “the fullness of time” arrived, Exile was overshadowing it.

When you’ve been biding 500 years to be rescued…
and need armies and earthly power to get the job done…
and you begin to pin your hopes on a preacher from Galilee…
who says that with his arrival the Kingdom of God is in your midst…
and then tells you to turn the other cheek…
and render to Caesar that which is his…
and wait for the kingdom of God to come…

no armies…

no earthly power…

no return of a King of Israel to rule…

but a king rejected and crucified…

I know they carry blame for the rejection…

but with eyes on the Exile…

I find it a little harder to do so.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea Dawn August 16, 2011 at 10:41 am

Good Morning, Craig:
Do you want to know my favourite phrases . . . “when God bent low” and “out of slavery into promise”. My whole being responded to these words . . . a sigh, ah yes, a relaxing into the truth of his nearness. Indeed, He is high and lifted up, but also bent low and near to the one who is broken and contrite before Him. So grateful that my personal exile is now overshadowed by the coming of the King . . . no longer defined by my “failings and fallings” but as a child of His love..

I have to say this, Craig . . . in the few short months I have been reading your blog, your skill with words is being broadened, heightened, deepened. Your are linking words together like a master jeweller creating a chain of fine gold. I bless you with even greater sensitivity to the Spirit that leads you in this labour of love.

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Craig August 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

thank you Andrea Dawn – I heart when God bends low – he does it all the time – and he doesn’t have to. He can stay high and mighty – on the throne – and just let all of the chips fall where they may – but instead he treats us as if he loves us. I guess because he does. Thank you Andrea Dawn, thank you for your kind words. Really, thank you. It’s taken 26 years of teaching, and a seminary degree, and a personal exile of my own to get to this point. So thank you. And God bless and keep you.

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Debra August 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Ditto to Andrea Dawn’s remarkable words.
Craig, you breathe poetry into your prose. Your words transcend the ordinary run-of-the-mill sermonizing of so many Christian writers and bloggers. You’ve got the touch kiddo! We’re not snowed under with wordiness or redundancy. And that’s why we connect. Because we adore the God of poetry and breathtaking literature. And we want to reflect his beauty as best we can.
The other day when we talked about our own exile, and I mentioned the parallel between ancient Israel and our current America, I was of course speaking metaphorically. Our nation is in many ways analogous to Israel – when you look back at our history and see the miracles that wrought our freedom, one after another.

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Craig August 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Deborah – I want to thank you. I know how well you write – and so for you to say that about me – well – thank you – just thank you. But you know I’ve been sharing lately about the negative voices that so many of us hear. And you know that one of mine involves the struggle to actually believe the nice things that good people say. You are “good people” – and there is that nagging voice that says “Craig, she’s so good – she is only being nice.” I’m going to have to really work on that one. It’s a tough one – to crave – and I’ve always craved the kind word, the complement – and yet be unable to accept it. That really has to go. That being said – and nodding my head as I write this – thank you. I accept your nice words. God bless you, maybe I’ll throw another prayer out there at three o’clock or so a.m.ツ

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Debbie August 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Thank you for taking us through this is a more personal way. I love how you do it and show us a different perspective of what was going on then . . .so we can understand with a new understanding.
I agree with all the wonderful things said about your writing. :) It’s true!
God bless you as you continue according to His plan!

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Craig August 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Debbie, of course thank you, and know that I expect you to keep me accountable – if I ever stop being personal – or go with the easy preachy thing – tell me – keep me in line! And as I shared with Deborah – and you know from reading that one of my top 10 negative voices is about not accepting compliments – not really believing them. It’s going to get its turn in the training corral soon – but I do believe you – thank you my friend. And God bless you.

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Michelle August 17, 2011 at 5:02 am

You are “good people” – and there is that nagging voice that says “Craig, she’s so good – she is only being nice.”

Guess what. I’m not nice. Well, maybe I am. But I don’t do ‘nice’. Nice is so bland. It’s like junket (a milk dessert my grandmother used to make, kinda like ….. don’t really know how to describe it, other than mild, no real flavour, even though there was. thick milk, not cream, not custard). Nice is a nothing word. I’d like you to know that I’m honest. And hope I am honest with grace when speaking/commenting. So, my comments (and -I’m gonna assume here – everyone elses’ comments) aren’t “being nice.” [Take off serious, you’d better believe me because I’m telling you this for your own good face/voice]

Anyway, to get back to your post. What you have gone through. All your training, life etc. enables you to bring the Scripture to life. To show a different, deeper perspective than I would have otherwise. Especially since I am too lazy (time poor) to dig deeper myself. So, thank you.

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Craig August 17, 2011 at 10:41 am

Awwwww, THAT was just about the perfect thing to say. Thank you Michelle. I feel both scolded – and loved – at the very same time. Obviously you’re a mom – and you got skilz. and it’s funny – I kept saying what you said – that all of my life was training me for the moment I was in – but, I’m a stubborn, and sometimes slow learner – and it really has taken all this time for my heart, and soul, and faith, to get where our Lord wanted it to be all along. I may not make myself smile a lot – but – and this is said with humility – I think I make him smile. God bless you Michelle

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