“For thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your brothers who did not go with you into exile— thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, I am sending upon them the sword, famine and pestilence, and I will make them like split-open figs that cannot be eaten due to rottenness.” (29:16-17)
A little nod to the prophecy in 24:5-10 about the two baskets of figs, the people left after the first deportation were still fooling themselves that they had escaped the discipline of the LORD.
The first deportation had, indeed, happened. All the nobles and artisans of the land had left. Daniel and his friends were already in the service of Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord had specified that those who were faithful to him would be sent into exile and those left in the land would suffer from plague, sword, and famine.
But of course, those left in the land were telling themselves the worst had past, the articles from the temple would be returned soon, everything would go back to normal shortly. Jeremiah tells them “this isn’t over, it’s just beginning.” He tells the faithful in exile, “get comfortable”.￼￼
We are impatient people. We like to see things resolve quickly. In the case of the exile, even righteous men like Daniel would have to endure the full sentence of the crimes of his people. 70 years, and not a moment less.
Those concerned with the glory of the LORD returning to Israel need not worry about it happening, oh it would, just not in their lifetime. It’s not about them, after all, it’s about HIM.
I have to remind myself regularly to pray for the LORD’s will to be done in my life, keeping in mind that it’s only truly done in His way and time.
The LORD’s message to the faithful in exile was that He hadn’t abandoned them. He was purposing to give them a future (29:11). It just probably wasn’t the future they were imagining. Instead of retiring in their own land, they would be strangers in a foreign land. They were to be a blessing there.
When life leads you into unexpected places, how do you react? How can you chose to be a blessing in unfavorable circumstances?