Monday, June 8, 2015

Exile is a mercy

You have feared the sword, and I will bring the sword upon you, declares the Lord God. And I will bring you out of the midst of it, and give you into the hands of foreigners, and execute judgments upon you. You shall fall by the sword. I will judge you at the border of Israel, and you shall know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 11:8-10

Messages of judgment are not fun reading on a Monday morning. In chapter 11 of Ezekiel, God takes Jerusalem into judgment. The prophecy that Ezekiel gives is in response to two counseling princes/prophets who are using the fear of judgment to scare people beyond hope. It seems the people are so frightened of their message ("The city is the cauldron, we are the meat" or in other words "We're cooked!") that they have abandoned hope and abandoned God.

But God had promised He would bring a remnant through... so this extreme fear needed to end in faith. The gloom prophets are confronted by Ezekiel, one of whome drops dead mid-sermon as Ezekiel gives God's final word on the matter (see Ezekiel 11:13). Now that is a dramatic audience response! God vindicates His mercy, seasoned with judgment, even as false prophets are judged for taking a true reality (impending judgment) further than God intended (missing the mercy of the exile).

The Exile was a mercy of God. It honored His Word and the covenant with Israel. If Jerusalem were destroyed with no captives alive, the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the love of God for His people Israel would all have just been lies. But because thousands were marched to Babylon, God's mercy and love remained on His people even in judgment. The Exile would be an extension of His grace so that the Jews might return again to prosper in another generation that lived in covenant with their God. That is why the serious events shutting down these over negative wicked "counselors" occurred. God will not have His mercies denied by human fear or even human failure.

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