Today’s passage tells the amazing story of the people of Israel who return to their homeland after a 70 year exile in Babylon. What an overwhelming feeling it must have been to get the news that God, through Cyrus King of Persia, was allowing them to return! This passage is a clear indicator of how God keeps His promises. God used the Babylonians to be an agent of His wrath in order that Israel would turn back to Him:
This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (Jeremiah 25:11)
He then used the Persians to bring judgement on the Babylonians for their wickedness and begin allowing the people of Israel to return to their homeland and worship Him again:
“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. (Jeremiah 29:10)
The return of the God’s people to their promised land was about more than just the land itself. It was about God’s people returning their worship to the one true God. In other words, God cared about the condition of their hearts more than He cared about the condition of their land. The exile was a result of turning away from God and ascribing their worship to other gods/things. Now, Israel is given the opportunity to repent and turn back to The Lord who keeps His promise to restore them again.
There is a very applicable truth we can glean here in our lives today: God desires our hearts more than anything. He desires that our hearts be completely given to Him and no one/nothing else. If we choose to live in sin and be separated from God, we are essentially “exiled” from God. We are separated from Him and the restoration, hope, healing, and joy we could experience if we repented and turned the worship of our hearts back completely to Him.
Spend time today in prayer asking God to reveal the things/ways you are ascribing your worship to someone/something other than Him.
God is calling you back to Him just as He called Israel back, and He is always faithful to keep His promises.
By: Matt Mofield