The Nation of Israel–From Captivity to Freedom and Back to Captivity

“From the going of the Israelites from Egypt to the temple’s first building 480 years, after this chronology and account. From the first building of the temple, until the captivity of Babylon, are 419 years and a half.” Bible Timeline, Houston Baptist University

Captivity: Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them. (Exodus 2:23-25)

Israel’s Exodus from Egypt: “Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. ‘Get out!’ he ordered. ‘Leave my people—and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave.’ All the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, ‘We will all die!’ ” (Exodus 12:31-33)

Israel’s Continuous Disobedience: “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Because you have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ says the Lord, ‘and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations.’ ” (Jeremiah 25:8-9)

70 years in Captivity: “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25:11)

According to Bible scholars, the time between the nation of Israel’s exodus from Egypt and their captivity to the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar was approximately 899 and a half years. We realize that many generations existed between the exodus and the captivity. In response to their freedom from grievous enslavement to entering the Promised Land and receiving the blessings of God for nearly nine centuries, the stiff-necked people continued in their pursuit of the pleasures of paganism.

“They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.” (Jeremiah 19:5)

Just the thought of sacrificing one’s children to pagan idols produces a chill of shock and sorrow in our bodies and minds. How does a believer lose their way and progress to committing such heinous sins against God?

God’s Answer: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

The Progression of Losing our Spiritual Freedom: When we first accepted Jesus as our Savior and were baptized, the excitement of a new and blessed life was evident in our smiling faces. Yes, we had the zeal and excitement of being born-again believers in the Most-High God. We eagerly shared our faith with others. But we allowed the busyness of life to interrupt our relationship with Jesus Christ. As time passed, we became too tired to commune with God. Our days were filled with overwhelming tasks which interfered with our ability to have daily, meaningful worship.

Eventually, we stopped praying and our Bibles remained unopened for days into weeks–there was no time or energy for diligent study of the Scriptures. One or two hours of online church services became the norm and we lost our desire to attend church services and participate in community outreach.

Satan knows that we love to pursue our heart’s desires. And he is eager to help us disobey God. The distractions of the noise of social media, entertainment, technology, worldly activities under the disguise of Christianity, busyness, politics, financial gains, unholy liaisons with unbelievers, and self-gratifying activities pulled us away from our commitment to the sacrificial life required of a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Although we shudder in disbelief at the sins biblical Israel committed, many of today’s believers are also worshipping idols. Self is our idol! We pursue the desires of our hearts as evidenced by unequally yoked relationships, chasing success and financial gain, and serving God according to our discernment of God’s truth.

Truthfully, we do not have the desire to trust or obey God. Jesus told us that we must love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds and love others. Read Matthew 22:37-38.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). How many people have you helped in 2022?

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 to “Go and make disciples” is not an option. God gave us the spiritual gifts, time, and physical energy to finish the work that Jesus began on this earth in His short life but spiritually productive life. Every day we must witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How many people have you told God loves you, and helped by giving words of encouragement or participated in community outreach programs in 2022?

Our lifestyles reflect self-idol worship and have led us into the captivity of sin.

Israel received the punishment of 70 years in captivity. Yet, with love and mercy, God did not leave them hopeless. In studying Jeremiah chapter 29, God commanded them to build houses, plant gardens, take wives, have children, and seek the peace of the city where He has caused them to be carried away into captivity [verses 5, 6, and 7].

The difference between Israel in the time of Jeremiah and today’s believers is God gave them a definitive time when their captivity would end and when He would give them complete restoration. Many are living as if this earth is our final destination. Yet, this is our time of Probation to study, pray, and live righteously. God has given us forewarnings in Matthew chapter 24, 2 Timothy chapter 3, and the book of Revelation of last-day and end-time events.

Yet, we choose to continue to live in spiritual bondage by ignoring the signs of the times. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

We received freedom when we gave our hearts to Jesus Christ. Through self-seeking desires, many have placed themselves in captivity. We do not know when Jesus will come again or when our lives will cease to exist. Yet, if we surrender to Christ in faith and obedience, use our spiritual gifts to witness and help those in need, and worship our God in spirit and in truth [which is Human Effort], we have this precious promise of Divine Intervention: “… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 1:6).

Jesus’ blood sacrifice gave us the divine opportunity to get out of sin’s captivity. We can live in spiritual freedom while waiting for the Greatest Event on Earth. Coming again, coming again, Yes, Jesus is coming again!

Prayer: Lord, we pray for those who have lost their way that they will regain the desire to serve You with their whole hearts. We thank You for your great sacrifice and the promise of eternal life if we so choose. We ask to be anointed with a double portion of the Holy Spirit. Reveal our purpose as we await Your return. We ask this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Author: steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

It takes courage, perseverance, faith, and trust to serve God in today's unstable world. Yet, we are never alone. Pray daily and pray often. Study the Bible. The Scriptures are a Love Letter from God to those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. You will receive comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3. Be blessed in Jesus' name. Amen.

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