Good news? Again!

I am writing this from a retreat center not far from home. I’ve spent the weekend with another group of strangers. Strangers, yes, and yet still sisters. I love meeting God’s children for weekend retreats. Yes, I’m the presenter; but most often I am also the listener, the learner, the observer. I always come away blessed by HIS work in his kids.

I’ve recently finished the books of 1st and 2nd Kings, and I’ve begun Ephesians. I want to make one last comment about the situation which closes this important historical and Biblical account. I used to think that 2nd Kings had a dismal ending; these days, I look at it slightly differently.

Certainly the Babylonian Army conquers the Kingdom of Judah, and carries most of her citizens off into a distant land. And that seems very bad.

To them, it must have been. Many of their people perished in the siege of Jerusalem. Many died of starvation. Others died in the invasion of the Babylonians. Many more died on the trip to Babylon. History tells us the captives were chained and had to walk day and night. Nebuchadnezzar was afraid that if they prayed, their God would rescue them during the trip. He didn’t want to give them time to pray.

For those of us who read this account nearly 2,500 years later, the story has yet another facet. We see the WHOLE picture. We have read God’s urgent warnings, given first before his people even entered the promise land. We have observed God’s patient correction, starting nearly five hundred years BEFORE the captivity, given by prophet after prophet, saying, “Obey me. Have no other Gods but me; or I will cast you out of this land. Serve me with your whole heart, or I will call for some distant nation to come here and punish you.”

Guess what? He did. The Babylonians conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC, and took most of her inhabitants to live in Babylon. They left the land desolate. Sad? Yes. Still…

One of the best parts of this sad story is this truth: God keeps his promises!

Whether for good (heaven, salvation, eternal life through Jesus Christ) or for evil (eternal separation and pain), God keeps his word! That the Judeans were conquered and led off to Babylon is proven Middle Eastern History. That they came back has been documented by many historical items of the time, including recovered Persian documents.

So, once again, God proves that you can absolutely rely on both his promises and his warnings. He gives his Word. And he keeps it.

He warns us that the wages of sin is death. He tells us that eternal separation waits for those who refuse his provision in Jesus Christ. He tells us that those who trust in Christ will have eternal life. These are his Words. He will keep these promises.

So, what is it? Good news or bad news?

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