How Did You Hold On? ~ Part 4 of 5

Hope?! What does slavery have to do with hope?! How does Jehovah expect us to take Him seriously when this is how He treats His own people? Why did He lead them into captivity in Babylon, any way?

In the book of Jeremiah, Jehovah says:

For thus says the LORD, “When seventy years have been completed for Babylon,
I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place [home].
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
“I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.”[1]

God knew their homeland had become an evil place full of prostitution (both forced and willful), extortion, slavery, child sacrifice, murder—the people invented atrocities to satisfy their cravings for power and lusts for more and would only continue their degeneracy into greater wickedness. Evil leads only one direction: to death.

Just as a surgeon must cut through the outer layers of the human body to reach the cancerous tumor within, so the compassionate Jehovah understood what it would take to remove the decay and debilitating power of sin and to restore peace and hope and a future to their civilization—and, like the gentle, skilled hands of the surgeon, Jehovah loved them enough to take the required actions.

Were all of His people totally corrupted by their civilization at the time? Probably not.

Why were the innocent ones, even children and infants, carried away, too? What had they done?[2]

What had my daughter and infant son done to deserve the rejection, devastation, and abandonment of divorce? What has Jillian done that she must now face every day knowing her struggle has no foreseeable end?

Where is the loving, benevolent God? Why do we go through horrific times? Why does He allow devastation into our lives?

to Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

[1] Jeremiah 29.10-14

 


[2] In his book Bible Doctrine, Wayne Grudem states, “Some maintain that Scripture teaches an ‘age of accountability’ before which young children are not held responsible for sin and are not counted guilty before God. However, the passages noted above about ‘inherited sin’ indicate that even before birth* children have a guilty standing before God and a sinful nature that not only gives them a tendency to sin but also causes God to view them as ‘sinners’ in his sight. ‘Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me’ (Ps. 51:5). …

 

“How can infants who die be saved? What do we say about infants who die before they are old enough to understand and believe the gospel? Here we must say that if such infants are saved, it cannot be on their own merits, or on the basis of their own righteousness or innocence, but it must be entirely on the basis of Christ’s redemptive work and regeneration by the work of the Holy Spirit within them. … However it certainly is possible for God to bring regeneration (that is, new spiritual life) to an infant even before he or she is born. …

“How many infants does God save in this way? Scripture does not tell us, so we simply cannot know. Where Scripture is silent, it is unwise for us to make definitive pronouncements. However, we should recognize that it is God’s frequent pattern throughout Scripture to save the children of those who believe in him. … God’s ordinary pattern, the ‘normal’ or expected way in which he acts, is to bring the [infant] children of believers to himself. With regard to believers’ children who die very young, we have no reason to think that it would be otherwise. (see 2 Sam. 12:23 and Psa. 23:6) … This should be of assurance to all believers who have lost children in their infancy, that they will one day see them again in the glory of the heavenly kingdom.

“Regarding the children of unbelievers who die at a very early age, Scripture is silent. We simply must leave that matter in the hands of God and trust him to be both just and merciful. If they are saved, it will not be on the basis of any merit of their own or any innocence that we might presume that they have. If they are saved, it will be on the basis of Christ’s redeeming work. Salvation is always because of God’s mercy, not because of our merits (see Rom. 9:14-18). Scripture does not allow us to say more than that.” (Bible Doctrine. Zondervan. 1999. 214-8. *emphasis in original work)

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