Originally published: Friday, September 02, 2011
The Reason for Captivity
David was once driving his car. He started to switch the dial of his car radio. When he heard his favorite rock song, David stopped changing stations. As he typically did, he started singing the song along with the recording. But, unlike the previous time, after a few seconds he smelled fire. He looked down at the dashboard, and he saw flames coming from the radio. He stopped the car and tried to put out the fire, but to no avail. Interestingly, only the radio burned. The rest of the dashboard was intact. When David got home, he immediately told his wife. Her reaction surprised him. Calmly she said to him, "I am glad you are OK." He looked puzzled; he asked her, "why are you so calm?" She smiled and replied, "I was concerned that your interest in that secular music would drive you away from God, so I prayed to Him that He would burn the radio." Surprised he asked, "Why would you do that?" She replied, "I love you, honey, I want you to be saved." David never fixed the radio. He understood that God was more important than that. God allow the radio to burn to save David.
Has God done anything like that for you? Do we see in the Bible how God has done that to the Jews? We could argue that that was a reason for the Babylonian captivity. Just like a parent chastens a child who misbehaves, God chastens those whom He loves. God used the Babylonian captivity to teach the Jews a lesson in humility; and, to teach them to be dependent on Him.
Years before Moses warned the Israelites about being unfaithful. Through Moses, the Lord declared in Deuteronomy 28,
Deuteronomy 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day…
Deuteronomy 28:36 The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone….
Deuteronomy 28:64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone…
Those who were faithful to God saw this as a rebuke from God. Not necessarily as punishment, cut, as the chastening of a beloved child. Paul says in Hebrews,
Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Ellen White elaborates on this topic. Let us read what she says,
"The trials of life are God's workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace."—Ellen G. White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 10.
In the story above, the Lord allowed David's radio to burn, because the Lord loved David. The Lord allowed the Babylonian captivity because He loved the Jews. He used it to develop their character. Had this not been the case He would not have told Jeremiah,
Jeremiah 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
These words can apply to us. Let us not resist the Lord's chastening. He has a purpose for it. And, it is for our good.