| ISRAEL EXILED |
You’ll remember that there are three parts to God’s covenant with His people: blessing, curse and restoration. Today’s passage is the fulfillment of the second part of the promise of God’s covenant. God was very clear about His curse for disobedience.
But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments … And I will scatter you among the nations. – Leviticus 26:14, 33
I would encrouage you to go back and read the reflection on Leviticus 26. God cites their disobedience and idolatry as the cause for their exile out of the land. More than that God is clear that He had warned the people by sending prophets (2 Kings 17:13). He had called them to “turn from evil ways.” If they would repent they would be cleansed, but the people and their leaders continued to choose their own way, with its sin and idolatry.
Specifically God calls to mind the sin of Jeroboam who, after rebelling against Rehoboam and Judah, set up a worship alternative to the worship God instituted at the temple in Jerusalem. Instead Jeroboam set up statues of calves in two cities in Israel and called the people ot worship there. You will remember this from our reading in 1 Kings 12:25-33.
Let us remember that the reason God brought the people out of Egypt and into this land is so that they would be His people and He would be their God. This is the whole point of their existence as people. God is making a people for Himself. If they would wander off and not be His people then God has no reason or obligation to protect them in the land.
One question remains. If God has fulfilled the blessings of the covenant by giving the people abudance when they originally came into the land, and God has fulfilled the curse of the covenant by sending the people into exile, cutting them off from the land, when will we see the third part of God’s promise? When will we see the people restored to fellowship with God?
We will see a glimpse of this when the people return from exile, but their redemption will not be truly revealed until Jesus, the true King, and gracious ruler, arrives to save the people, not only from their enemies, but also from their sin.