Its Day 13. I'm reading in Ezekiel 38-39. God had sent Israel into exile for their sins and unfaithfuness to Him. He had handed them over to their enemies. In doing so He dealt with them severely, even to the point of hiding His face from them. What a terrifying thought. No man's land.
But then as always, God who is Faithful and True brought His people back from captivity. He had compassion on them--out of zeal for His name. The Israelites forgot their shame and unfaithfulness toward God. He provided for them, showed Himself holy through them, and gathered them to their own land, "not leaving any behind." He no longer hid His face from them and poured out His spirit on them.
I look back over my seasons of exile where God put me because of my unfaithfulness and sin. There were many years that I struggled with strongholds of sin in my life, all while I was a believer. Though I believed in Christ Jesus, I wasn't following Him. I understand how a Christian can fall into sin and stay there for awhile. I've been there. I've been in exile. I think of all the time and opportunities I wasted that could have been spent for God's kingdom. I am sickened by my past and my sins. It would be easy for me to get caught there and live in that shame, knowing how I wasted so much of my life, crucified the Lord, and grieved the Holy Spirit.
The entire Bible is a book of God's redemption of man. Over and over again, throughout the Old and New Testaments, man sins and God forgives. The verses that stand out to me about this redemption are Ezekiel 39:21-22. Through Ezekiel, God says to the Israelites that when it is all said and done, "I will display my glory among the nations..from that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God." When its all said and done, God --because of His zeal for His name, will display Himself visibly to the world by whoever and whatever means necessary. And it will be through His people who sin, fail and are redeemed. He will be glorified. He will be glorified in me. "..he who began a good work in (us) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).