Shoes Off…Shoes On

Hi gang!  Pull up a chair.  We’re building on an idea that was introduced a few days ago as we study The Incomparable Gift.  To get the run up to today’s discussion, check out:

God intended the Jewish people to radiate light, and the Lord made that clear to Joshua as He led the Israelites into the Promised Land. Indeed, God desired a holy people for a holy land.  In fact, their privilege of occupying the land God gave them was dependent on it!

Joshua had a very unique encounter with the Commander of the Lord’s army:

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord‘s army said to Joshua,“Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
~Joshua 5:13-15

Removing of sandals was a sign of awe and reverence, and the message was this: Walk in awe and reverence of the Lord, or sacrifice the privilege of occupying the Promised Land.  Shoes off…living holy and living in the land of promise.  Shoes on…live according to your own will and ways (no reverence for the Lord) and go into exile.  Thus, though the land was promised to the Jews, the right to LIVE in their land depends upon their obedience to the Lord.

Isaiah 11:11-12 references a second recovery of the Israelites.

In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

He will raise a signal for the nations
    and will assemble the banished of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
    from the four corners of the earth.

Following Israel’s entrance into the Promised Land there have been two exiles.  The first occurred when the Northern and Southern Kingdoms were taken into captivity to Assyria and Babylon (roughly 740 – 586 BC), following a season of idol worship. The second was in 70 AD when the Romans conquered Jerusalem, scattering the Jewish people to the four corners of the earth.

History tells us that the Assyrian and Persian kings allowed the Israelites to return to their homeland, after which the Temple was re-built and idol worship ceased.  The second recovery of the remnant referred to in Isaiah 11 indicates the gathering of those banished from Israel to the four corners of the earth.  That prophecy is partially fulfilled, as the Lord’s hand has extended a second time!  Ezekiel 36-37 describes the final return of the Jewish people to their homeland.

We’ll talk about that tomorrow, but let’s end with this thought:  The privilege of living in the Promised Land is dependent upon Israel’s obedience and reverence to the Lord.  God’s Word seems to indicate only two exiles and two returns, of which the final return is partially fulfilled.  The Jews will not be taken into exile again!  This is it…the Lord is in the midst of bringing about the final fulfillment of His promise to His people!

Join us at the study table tomorrow as we look at that final return!

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