“But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.”
To be strangers in a strange land…
Captivity was not a new experience for the children of Israel. From Egypt to Babylon they had found themselves as slaves, held by foreign masters, living amidst foreign lands, their lives held to be cheap by those who ruled over them. They would be left with nothing but a deep and abiding longing that would cry out from their spirits as they looked for deliverance.
How could they not? Though some might, at times, find esteem as the counsel to their rulers and captors most would be regarded as nothing more than cattle, they could be executed or taken away at the will and the whims of those who exercised authority over them.
It wasn’t hard to imagine, in these times that God, He was far from them… far distant from their cries, far distant from their suffering, far distant from their plight and struggle, anguish and pain. There, they would turn to foreign gods and false idols, bowing before these graven images, worshipping at their feet.
Yet whatever the struggle, whatever the troubles, God was never too far from them, beside them throughout the captivity and exile He would, by His gracious precepts, guide them and protect them, showing His love and His mercy unto them. And to those who would keep their faith, who would trust in Him regardless of the threat, regardless of the trials and the tribulations, He would shelter them in His loving precepts.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego cast amidst the fiery furnace, Daniel thrown into the lion’s den, Joseph sold to Egyptian masters as a slave, unto each and everyone them God showed His perfect love, His divine compassion and His infinite mercy, giving them refuge as He covered them from the evil that could befall them.
Today, amidst our world and amidst all that goes on around it, we still see the captivity, the pain and the sorrow, the hurt and the anguish of those taken from their homes, ripped from their lands and torn from the people they love. We see it in the hostages grabbed, the ships hijacked, the trafficking of human flesh. We see it and it causes us to cry out for the justice of the Lord, that divine, perfect justice that does not let iniquity and wickedness stand upon this earth, that justice that does not abide, that cannot abide in injustice, hatred and tyranny.
We see it, we cry out and we trust that the Lord, He shall deliver according to His righteousness.
Just as the prophets and the disciples, the apostles and the saints, trusted in the Lord and His faithfulness so too must we put our hope and our faith in Him knowing He shall not fail or forsake us, He shall not abandon His children to the wolves for their slaughter.
Uplift therefore…. Uplift the hostages and the captives in your prayer knowing that the Lord will walk beside them, offering unto them peace and comfort, granting them strength and perseverance, knowing that, in His time, in His way, He will rescue them and bring them home. Trust in the Lord and know He shall always deliver.