LIVE IN THE LAND

Today's devotion from 2 Kings 25.

This is the end, at least, for a while. Jerusalem, the temple, the walls, the houses,they are all gone. Many are carried into exile while some remain under the leadership of a puppet government. Now, there is really nothing "wrong" with the government left in Jerusalem. Gedaliah appears to have come from a respected family that served under Josiah. Further, Scripture implies that his family was observant of Jeremiah's ministry, so there was no point in putting up a struggle given the fact that the prophet had already warned the people of the temporary nature of the captivity.

With this in mind, Gedaliah gives the people some advice. He says, "Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well for you." (vs. 24) Well, that's easy to say until a guy named Ishmael wants to kill you and usurp your power. This uproar causes the people to fear for their lives. Will the Babylonians return? Will they punish the land for the turmoil? How is it that things are going to be well with them? With few answers in sight, many of the people flee...to Egypt.

Sin has taken them backward instead of forward. They were supposed to be living in the Promised Land, the place offered by God where He would be their God and they would be His people; the place He rescued them from Egypt to inhabit. Now, they are driven back. Back to the land of slavery and affliction. Sin has taken them backward, and sin will always take us backward.

Yet, the author does not leave us in a state of hopelessness as we read of the Israelites' flight. Jehoiachin lives. If you remember, he was the king who first surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar. He, his family, his servants, and his officials were carried into captivity. Yet, even after the near total destruction of Jerusalem, we see that he has survived, he is essentially freed, and he is being blessed.

This is the subtle reminder to see the bigger picture. Jerusalem has fallen, the temple is burned, and the walls are destroyed, but that's ok. The hope of Israel was not in a city, or a temple, or defensible walls. Their one and only hope was in the God who could free them from Egypt and bring them through Babylon.