Rediscovering the Word
The Babylonian Exile was a devastating experience for the people of Jerusalem and Judah. Having the best and brightest of the nation carried off to serve a pagan king almost destroyed the Jewish people.
We can hear their struggles in the Psalms: “How can we sing the songs of Zion in a strange land?”
One of the great lessons of the exile was learning that the same God who lived in Jerusalem lived in Babylon as well. Wherever the people of God found themselves, God was there.
We believe this was the time in Israel’s history when most of the Old Testament was written down. Before then, it had been mostly memorized and orally passed down from generation to generation.
Even in the Middle Ages, it wasn't unusual to find rabbis who had memorized the entire Hebrew Testament. In the great monastic movement of this time, an applicant had to have memorized the New Testament and Psalms before they’d be accepted into the monastery.
I digress. To make a point, we’re capable of memorizing vast amounts of information, including the entire Hebrew Testament and the New Testament.
But back to the intent of this blog: the Jewish people survived the Exile. Moreover, they learned to thrive and redefine themselves as a people because they rediscovered the Word of God in exile.
What does that have to do with Christ-followers in post-modern North America? I think the lesson is obvious. We’ll survive this post-modern exile—even learn to thrive in it—if we, like the Jewish people in Babylon, can rediscover the power of God’s Word.
So, open your Bible. Read it. Memorize it.
Let it become the food you eat and the water you drink. Press it into your mind so it becomes the only thing you think, so it becomes the WAY you think.
Sure, it’s a dark time. But there’s enough light left to read the Scriptures. When we learn to do this again, we’ll find ourselves again. And we’ll find the God who has been waiting for us.
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