In which there is an end to arrogance

by Craig on August 18, 2011

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What had to be fixed before Israel’s Exile to Babylon would come to an end?

In Exile, they had only to remember their past to know what they needed to do in the present. In a part of Leviticus that was always there, but ignored:

They will have to confess that they…have rebelled against me and have defied me so that I too had to defy them and bring them into their enemies’ land. (Leviticus 26:40)

This is part 6 of a series on the Exile of Israel to Babylon…
If you’d like to peek at the previous parts…
part one is here, two is here, three is here, and here is 4, and 5.

Had Israel rebelled against God?

*Ahem* …
a gazillion times.

Had they shown a defiant heart toward him?

*Ahem* …
a gazillion times.

It was crystal clear to the prophets…
but was denied by Israel again and again.

In part, Exile was fashioned by God to cause Israel to see their own arrogance. Not only that, but once seeing it, to confess it.

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And I dare not throw any stones from in here.

Much of my Christian lifetime I would have given Israel a good run for their money.
Everything had to be done my way.
Rules were meant to be stretched…
boundary lines to be danced on.

I rose up against God at times and always considered it a badge of courage.

It is not courageous to be rebellious toward God.
It is not courageous to refuse his reproof.

Though never saying it out loud…
I had long believed myself to always be better than any boss I ever had.
I defied my Seminary professors the same way.
Somehow I think all of them got the message though.

And all along I had my “prophets” warning me – just like Israel. There were good Christian friends cautioning me to be less fiercely independent, and not to fly so close to the flame of temptation.

And like I did with human authorities, I openly showed submission to God, while inwardly charting my own course.

Exile forces you to see and confess a defiant and rebellious heart. For centuries God had tried other methods, but his last resort for Israel was to bring about the bitter defeat at the hands of earthly powers and then, Exile, under them.

As bitter as the proof was – it was proof God’s care.

After Exile they remained defiant and rebellious…

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to Egypt, and Greece, and Rome, but not to God.

And for many in Israel, when the “fullness of time” came – Jesus was a threat to their submission and their standing before God. They had worked hard to get back to the place of faithfulness to only One God. And now Jesus claimed to be God. And despite what some say, there has never been any idea, in all of theology, of three who are God, and yet one only One God.

Their defiance and rebellion and lack of humility before God had ended. This meant, for many, especially those in power at the time of Our Lord’s coming, that they had to take up a defiant and rebellious and proud opposition to Jesus.

It’s more complicated than that…

but I get that much.

A little more on Exile tomorrow…

please come back.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

laura August 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Isn’t that ending the heartbreak of it all? I wonder if I would have believed back then. It’s so humbling to think that I might have been among the masses who denied that “anything good could come from Nazareth”. I have been the rebellious one too, Craig. Such good thoughts here. I *heart* sitting on your front porch a while. :)

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Craig August 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Just like you, I wonder sometimes, if I were first century Jew, and the political leaders were all telling me that this man was a false Messiah, and I wanted to stay true to the one true God – might I have rejected him too? and thank you for sitting on my front porch – and of course, I heart that you used heart as a verb. Always makes me smile. God bless and keep you Laura – I heart that you were here.

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Martha Orlando August 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

In this series on Exile, you certainly have enlightened me to many reasons why Jesus was not universally accepted at that time. This perspective is helping me, too, with reading scripture as I prepare my daily devotions for my blog. Going from one God to the concept of the Trinity had to be mind-boggling for many, even those who awaited with eagerness the Messiah’s coming. I am just so grateful that others believed that Jesus was who He said He was and had the faith and trust necessary to make Christianity flourish.

I love Laura’s “front porch” imagery for this dialogue; thanks for letting me “set a spell” with you!

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Craig August 20, 2011 at 6:13 am

Someday – probably six months from now or so – I think I’ll write a series on the Trinity. I heart the concept of Trinity. It was meeting the Jehovah’s Witnesses for the first time – before seminary – and as a young Christian – when they challenged to the very core – my belief in the Trinity – and I almost didn’t have enough to fight back. But I did – and I exited our time together with a deep appreciation for the three who are Gof yet only one God. and thank you Martha – thank you for sitting on my front porch – I don’t actually have a front porch – but thank you for sitting on it anyway. God bless and keep ツ

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A. August 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Hmmmm, I appreciate your honesty, Craig, about your own defiant times, etc., because it helps me to be more honest with myself as I scrutinize my own back trail and current heart condition. This is a humbling post for me, as I reflect.

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