"My people will be captured and taken away, because they don’t really know me." Isa. 5:13 (NCV)
There are few moments in Israel’s history that are more heartbreaking than falling into exile. Remember that the northern kingdom of Israel was exiled by the Assyrians (721 BC) and the southern kingdom of Judah was exiled at the hands of Babylon (586 BC). The Babylonian exile came with a great price. By the time Ezra returns with the Israelites back to Israel (around 450 BC), they had lost their heritage, their language, and their relationship with Yahweh. All of this could have been avoided if they had just been faithful in their walk with God. If you think about it, they didn’t fall into exile, they walked into it.
Knowing about God and knowing God are two separate things. Many of us in our faith think that the more knowledge we gain about the Bible or about God is actually knowing God. It’s not. God is a person, not just a long list of facts. Knowing God is having a relationship with Him. This relationship entails trusting Him, loving Him, talking with Him, obeying Him, adoring Him, and letting Him be your provision. He wants us to know about Him, but not at the expense of truly walking with Him.
We fall into exile when we really don’t know God. It’s pretty hard to imagine what going into exile would be like. Being carted off to a foreign land, being forced to work, being forced to learn a new language, wear different clothes, eat different food and learn to customs. It really must have seemed so foreign to them. But there is an important lesson here. Whenever we drift in our walk with God, we sell ourselves into exile. When we don’t know God (relationally) we begin to talk differently, dress differently, think differently, love differently, and surround ourselves with different company. We begin a downward spiral into Lifelessness.
God’s heart for us is Eden, not Exile. We must remember – exile was never God’s heart for Israel. His heart for us has always been Eden. He wants the best for us. So much so, that He made a way back to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. Whenever we find ourselves in exile, we put us there. God will never willfully and desirously put us into exile, for His heart for us is greater than our heart for ourselves.
Question of the Day:
Am I in “exile” because I don’t really know God?