Because God is, there is always hope. It doesn’t matter how dark the world looks. It doesn’t matter what we’re personally going through. It just doesn’t matter. Maybe we can’t make things better, but God always can. Let me show you something with regards to the history of Israel/Judah. Now the exact years of the events differ, depending on whose timeline you use, so take the dates as approximate. This is all in B.C., meaning we’re counting up towards 0.
931 BC – Solomon dies and the Kingdom of Israel splits into two nations. The southern nation is called Judah. The northern one keeps the name Israel.
722 BC – The northern nation is considered destroyed with the capture and exile of King Hoshea by the Assyrians.
605 BC – Babylonia takes some of the nobles into captivity, including Daniel.
597 BC – Babylonia captures Jerusalem and the recently crowned King Jeconiah
586 BC – Babylonia returns and razes Jerusalem, destroying the walls, the Temple, and all major buildings
If we’re looking at this timeline, things were bleak. Israel was destroyed as a nation. It would forever be a footnote in history. If we counted on just humanity, Israel would never rise again. But put God into the picture and everything is different:
For thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, concerning the sea, concerning the stands and concerning the rest of the vessels that are left in this city, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take when he carried into exile Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. Yes, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that are left in the house of the Lord and in the house of the king of Judah and in Jerusalem. ‘They will be carried to Babylon and they will be there until the day I visit them,’ declares the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.” – Jeremiah 27:19-22, NASB
Jeremiah was prophesying between that period where Nebuchadnezzar first took Jerusalem then returned to destroy the city. We know that when he burned the temple, he took all the religious instruments with him. And this is what Jeremiah is revealing that the Lord would permit to happen. Nebuchadnezzar would get the goods, but at a later point in history, they would be returned. Now, what happened next? Well, Babylonia was defeated by the Medeo-Persian Empire. And it is under that reign that the following events happen:
538 BC – Zerubbabel leads 50,000 Israelites back to Jerusalem
516 BC – The Temple is completed and worship is re-established.
Almost 50 years passed between the time Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and the first exiles were allowed to go back. The idea that exiles would be allowed to go back and to rebuild their capital city is outrageous. It’s basically saying to a subjugated people, “We’re sorry, and a sign of that, you can have your land and identity back.” That kind of thing doesn’t happen very often in history and it was an even rarer thing in ancient times. Yet that’s exactly what happened. And not only did they go back, but they were allowed to rebuild their temple. Allowed to rebuild is actually not correct. They were ordered to rebuild it by King Cyrus! (See Ezra 1) So we’re talking about going from total destruction as a nation to being ordered to restore itself. How did that happen?
God did it. It’s really that simple. So if God can allow a nation to be utterly destroyed, its best and brightest carted off, another nation to conquer that conquering nation (and a second conquering nation when you consider Assyria was conquered by Babylonia), then cause a foreign key to decide to rebuild His temple and return His people to their land, what can’t He do in your life, if He so chooses? Absolutely nothing that is in keeping with His will and His character is beyond His ability. Therefore, because God is, there is always hope. We can embrace that hope. But it means we have to stop trusting in our own abilities and trust in His. Let us trust Him today.