Today's Reading: 2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36
The writings of the book of Kings and Chronicles are really quite amazing. Whoever the theologians of the age were, they had an understanding of the exile of their people which would astound most of us if we listened very closely.
According to the shapers of these documents, the faithful believed God used their enemies as weapons--tools--for their discipline. The recorders of this faith history declare that their enemies were acting on behalf of God.
Now that is a very incredible and humbling acknowledgement--God is using my enemy, who seems to be more obedient than I am, as a means to bring me back to God.
This is not a new concept for the Hebrew theologians. They believed God had power over any resource to demonstrate God's faithfulness, even if the faithfulness of God was demonstrated in suffering.
God used a great fish belly to discipline Jonah. God used famine to show the wisdom of his servant Joseph. God used our worst enemy, Death, in order to save us.
Though it sometimes feels like God is against us, the Hebrew faithful believe that any horrible circumstance, when viewed from the throne of heaven, makes perfect sense. They boldly testify that the worst could be and in fact,is, a demonstration of God's love.
The Psalmist proclaims in God's voice, "My ways are not your ways."
We would proclaim right back, "You got that right! Guess what, God, this suffering from you does not feel like love."
The faithful declare to us that our role is to completely trust in God, despite present circumstances. Nothing is random. Everything has meaning because everything is under the rule of a sovereign God whose central and defining attribute is everlasting love.
That is an easy doctrine to embrace when all is well.
But when one is on the road to a foreign land with shackles around one's neck, I'm sure it is a hard doctrine to swallow.