CAN YOU TRUST GOD IN EXILE?
Lev 26:27 “But if in spite of this you will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me,
Lev 26:28 then I will walk contrary to you in fury, and I myself will discipline you sevenfold for your mistakes.
Lev 26:29 You will eat the flesh of your sons, and you will eat the flesh of your daughters.
Lev 26:30 And I will destroy your high places and eliminate your incense altars and cast your dead bodies upon the dead bodies of your idols, and my soul will grow tired of you.
Lev 26:31 And I will lay your cities waste and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your soothing aromas.
Lev 26:32 And I myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who end up staying in it will be appalled at it.
Lev 26:33 And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land will be a desolation, and your cities will be a waste.
Lev 26:34 “Then the land will enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths.
Lev 26:35 As long as it lies desolate it will have rest, the rest that it did not have on your Sabbaths when you were staying in it.
Lev 26:36 And as for those of you who remain, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf will put them to flight, and they will run away as one runs away from the sword, and they will fall when none pursues.
Lev 26:37 They will stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though none pursues. And you will have no power to stand before your enemies.
Lev 26:38 And you will become lost among the nations, and the land of your enemies will eat you up.
Lev 26:39 And those of you who remain will rot away in your enemies’ lands because of their violation, and also because of the violations of their fathers they will rot away like them.
The Sabbaths of desolation
This litany of consequences became reality for the Israelites. Their land was laid waste, and their people exiled and scattered among the nations. All the while, the Sabbaths which were part of the covenant with the LORD finally took place, because the abandoned and devastated land had its rest. It was not just the restoration of Israel that fulfilled prophecy. The exile itself was a direct fulfillment of prophecy.
God’s best for us all is to enjoy the full benefits of all the blessings he provides. But we must do so within the limits of the new covenant he has made with us in Christ. To enjoy the benefits apart from obedience to the covenant invites desolation and exile. The post-Christian world in which many of us live is now experiencing that judgement.
LORD, grant us the courage to trust you even as the society around us falls into captivity.