“The Lord says, “Come away! Flee from Babylon in the land of the north, for I have scattered you to the four winds. Come away, people of Zion, you who are exiled in Babylon!”” Zephaniah 2:6-7
The people of Judah were exiled for 70 years to Babylon because of their stiff neck and willful disobedience to the God who had delivered them many centuries before.
Reading this anew I felt that this describes the life of Christian discipleship. We, like all people cling to our rebel behavior. We don’t recognize it because it looks different from those “terrible sinners” out there. But like the people of God of old we too are exiled away from the New Jerusalem, We too are exiled from that land for the duration of our years on the earth (about 70!). It is God’s desire for us to use our time here to live within the culture and among the people we are exiled, learn their “language”, be among them so that some of them too may become people of God.
“The Lord says, ‘Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you.'” The time will come when we live where the “knowledge of the glory of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the bottom of the sea”. That time has not come yet.
Let us live out our years of exile being God’s people, following God’s ways among those who are foreigners to God’s ways as we wait patiently for the SECOND coming of Jesus when we return from exile to our true home!