This company of Israelite exiles who are in Canaan will possess the land as far as Zarephath; the exiles from Jerusalem who are in Sepharad will possess the towns of the Negev. Obadiah 20 (NIV).
The exiles: that’s us.
Sure, Obadiah’s prophecy directly referred to the Jews who had been taken captive in Babylon. God would return them to their Promised Land and they would, once again, live in that land of milk and honey. That region extended from (today’s) desert east of Jerusalem all the way up into present day Lebanon. Indirectly, the verse also refers to the two-millenium Jewish diaspora that has only been resolved in our time by the nation of Israel moving back to that same homeland that God promised to Abraham thousands of years ago.
Yet you and I are also exiles. We are cast out to live in a world that, like that of Abraham and Lot, is degenerating and immoral. We are sent, by Jesus, to be His witnesses to the ends of the Earth, in lands both familiar and strange. That sets us apart because, even in this so-called modern world, most of the 7.5 billion people here live within 100 miles of their birthplace. People who read this blog reside on five different continents and in dozens of Christian denominations, and most have moved to be where they are.
But this is us, assigned by the Lord to live lives on the go, sometimes far away from our homes and always far from the perfection of heaven. Through it, God still promises we will inherit a land where He will live with us, where He will walk with us again daily as He used to walk with Adam. To keep that promise, God came to us in His Son, Jesus, who is both fully God and fully man, and who lived a perfect life so that He might offer that life as the perfect sacrifice. That He might renew what was corrupted. And, brother do we need it…
…Because that degenerating, immoral world? We’re not just in it: we’re part of it. Our sins, large or small, separate us from God and exile us here. But it won’t be that way forever, and for most of forever, it will be our remade home. When Jesus returns to make all things new, we will return from our exile in this world of sin to live with Him in a world made perfect again. Eden will be returned and we will be able to live in harmony with the Lord and each other.
Until then, we’re exiled here.
For further reading: 1 Kings 17:9-10, Jeremiah 33:13, Luke 4:26, Obadiah 21
Lord Jesus, as I live in exile from You here, be my strength, my guide, and my Lord. Guide all my words and actions.
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