These chapters are heavy. The destruction described in 15 is hard to imagine. How could the LORD be so ruthless? But this was exactly what He said would happen, in Deuteronomy 28:15-68, if the people rejected Him like this. But, like a loving father, He draws His children in after they’ve been disciplined.
“Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.” (16:14-15)
The story which lingers in their history as the LORD’s most powerful display of deliverance will be eclipsed by the way He promises to save them from their consequences. His punishment is not forever.
What’s more, is the beautiful promise He makes next:
“Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.” (16:16)
This brings a whole new depth to understanding what Jesus was doing when He called His disciples to be “Fishers of Men”.
Our Redeemer hunts for us. Just as the Exodus parallels our own salvation from slavery to sin, the return from Exile parallels God’s pursuit to reclaim His lost sheep children. He also uses His people to hunt and fish, with Him, for more.
Remember the day Jesus came for you. What was that like? How do you imagine it? Do you feel like you’re still in Exile? Speak to the LORD about your journey with Him, today.