Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gods Goal XI

Gods Goal Part XI

Exile and Promised Restoration
Finally, in about 587 B.C., Jerusalem fell to the invading Babylonians (the Northern Kingdom had gone into exile with the Assyrians in 722 B.C.). The people of Judah are deported to Babylon. It looks like God may be through with his people Israel. But if so, what about his holy name, for which he has been so jealous over the centuries? We soon discover God is not finished with his people, but will again be merciful. And again, as Isaiah makes clear, God's purposes are the same as always:

For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. (Isaiah 48 :9-11)

Similarly, Ezekiel, who prophesied during the Babylonian exile, tells of God's merciful restoration and why he will perform it.

Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations will know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes . . . It is not for your sake that I will act, says the Lord God; let that be known to you Be ashamed and confounded for your sins, O house of Israel. (Ezekiel 36:22-23,32)

Salvation is not a ground for boasting of our worth to God. It is an occasion for self-abasement and joy in the glorious grace of God on our behalf-a grace which never depends on our distinctives but flows from God's overwhelming concern to magnify his own glory on behalf of his people.

No comments: