2006-07-09 - Daniel
Installment 7 - Living in Exile
Here are lots of ways to be exiled. With Israel and Judah, one can argue they were self-imposed. They knew God would cast them out of the land, if they didn't obey Him. This especially related to their allowing the land to rest and to experience its sabbaths.
"Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the LORD, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem. The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people, and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord's temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God's temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
There are lots of ways to be exiled. We can even be self exiled. When we don't deal with the sin in our lives, we exile ourselves from our day-to-day relationship with the Lord. Like Israel and Judah, we will remain in our self-imposed exile, until we turn around and repent.
But for those who are committed to obedience, exile can be an opportunity to minister to those in the world. Daniel and his friends were beacons of truth in a pagan world. As Christians, we are also called to be God's light in the midst of a world of darkness. We are in exile from paradise, but we are also ambassadors of paradise, to a world living in exile from the Garden.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).
"The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar." Genesis 10:10
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