But because our ancestors angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.
(Ezra 5:12 NIV)
A mother tells the story of how her young son eventually learned his life lesson the hard way. While under her roof, he had refused to follow her rules and continued to get himself into trouble. She eventually kicked him out of the house. As expected, he continued to make bad choices and follow the wrong crowd, until he finally found himself in prison. Although she had said that she would have nothing to do with him, this loving mother continued to visit him in jail and remind him that even though he didn’t listen to her or follow her rules, which she says were not so hard or harsh, he is now in a position where he has no choice but to follow someone else’s rules. In such a tough circumstance, the young man learned to appreciate his mother’s love and the comfort of home.
God’s chosen people were very stubborn and rebellious. While in the Promised Land, they refused to follow God’s commands and laws, which were for their own good. Time and time again, He sent His prophets to warn them, but they continued to rebel against Him and follow their stubborn ways. So God allowed them to go into exile, far from their homeland, where they were expected to follow someone else’s rules and expectations. But even in exile, God still pursued His people and promised to bring them back home, but not without reminding them of their rebellion and sin which got them in trouble in the first place. It was in exile that His people finally learned how good they had it back home. In their own words:
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” (Psalm 137:1-3)
Both stories are heartbreaking, but oftentimes, out of His great love for His children, God allows them to be placed in difficult situations to drive them back into His arms. Don’t wait before your life turns upside down to seek God. Seek Him while He may still be found (Isaiah 55:6).