i know you’re not supposed to have favorites when it comes to the Bible, but my favorite (shh) part of Scripture is probably the exile period, especially the former and latter prophets.
i mean, really? i know, it’s odd. it’s lots of disobedience and sinning and sinning and disobedience, bad kings who don’t listen to God, and even worse kings who lead the sinful and idolatrous people to worship false gods, and lots of prophets who cry out against their actions and face ridicule and judgment and even death. it’s bleak.
here’s the thing: i love the prophets, and the exile period, because it’s a time full of pain and suffering. it’s bleak and it’s dark and it seems hopeless–like there’s no way out. yet when the enemies come in to capture Judah and Israel, they are directed by the Lord’s hand. He uses outside forces to come in and conquer and punish his people, who have sinned, and as as a consequence, have lost the land they were promised and given for their own.
yet there’s this beautiful tension in the prophets and in the exile…and it is that the exile will end! God tells his people that he will deliver them–not because of their goodness or their morality, because let’s face it, they are lacking in those areas–but on the basis of who He is, and his mission–that his people would be a light to the world. He will deliver them from exile and send a savior, a messiah…and this messiah will come and deliver his people, and right all the wrongs, and deliver the world from oppression and sin.
and yet…we live in the tension. things in this world are not right. Christ came, and died, and is our atonement–yet the earth is still imperfect, lacking, and life is full of difficulties and hardships and great sadness.
i guess i like the prophets because the prophets remind me that we are living in the tension of the “already…but not yet.” sickness and sadness and sorrow and death remain until Christ comes again…but then there’s the promise that He’s coming again to make all things right, to wipe every tear from our eyes…
and that’s something to rejoice about, to await, to expect every day.
o come o come Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lowly exile here
until the Son of God appears
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel