Dad Devotional Day 24

Lost Sabbaths

2 Chronicles 36:15–21

The final fall of Judah begins with “early and often the Lord, God of their ancestors, sent his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place” (v.15). God is present in the history of Judah. He is showing up through his prophets, the temple, and their leaders. But this grand experiment God is conducting does not seem to be working. The people are constantly fighting and involving themselves in international politics and religion. Looking back through many other biblical examples a definite pattern is developing.

In the first stories of creation, Adam and Eve fumble and must begin a new life away from the Garden of Eden. The diluvian flood is a hard reset on humanity establishing a new human lineage. After God leads the Israelites from Egypt, they falter in their faith forcing God to let them “wonder” for 40 years, until all the old generation dies off. The Israelite kingdom follows pagan gods and is destroyed. God is continually working to grow the relationship, but humanity demonstrates a pattern of going off the rails leaving an angry God with no choice but to kill everyone and start over.

This demoralizing message certainly has been extracted and preached through out the ages. We humans just kind of suck and we cannot do anything right. All we need is Jesus. It’s just too bad He doesn’t show up until 32 C.E. Or maybe…This is an unrealistic and completely wrong interpretation.

Every now and then a system needs to shut down. This is nothing new and we actually induce these shut downs in our own world from time to time. When a computer is jammed up with too many commands, you turn it off and back on. Farmers leave land untilled for a season to restore the nutrients in the soil. There are limits to any system’s capability. Shutting everything down for a period of time in biblical terms is called a Sabbath. This important concept was demonstrated by God at the very beginning of creation. This shutdown does not mean that everything is going wrong with adverse effects. Rather it means that too much is going on and focus is being lost.

Adam and Eve established the sacredness of marriage. Noah established the family as a core unit God works through. God moved from a family to a people in Moses. And through the Davidic line, we see these people building a kingdom and temple for God. Amazingly, despite all the ups and downs, humanity is progressing closer to God. Following each period of growth, there is a pause preparing for the next advancement. This is cyclical growth. It is not resetting of the pieces to try a different strategy.

I had in mind that the end of Second Chronicles would be a great culmination of two books and hundreds of years history. Knowing the story ends with the Jewish diaspora and complete destruction of their land, I felt there should be a momentous call to unite the people to God. Instead of this grand crescendo, the writer ends with “All of this was to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah: Until the land has retrieved its lost sabbaths, during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest while seventy years are fulfilled” (v.21). This is all part of Gods plan.

There are no redo’s in life. You are not a mistake to God to be erased and retried by the next generation. You are a part of God’s plan and when He forces you to rest, He is preparing you for His next big move.

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