No Matter WhatJuly 25, 2012 - 5:00 am
“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone’.” — Ezekiel 11:16
Throughout the ages, God has commanded the Jewish people always to remember the land of Israel. And in recent decades, in His kindness, God has allowed His people to re-settle the Holy Land and build it into a light among the nations. But for centuries upon centuries, all the Jewish people were able to do was pine for their homeland, hoping against hope that one day they would be able to return.
So during all those long years – and even today, for those who have not yet had the opportunity to see the land of Israel – what was a Jewish person to do while in exile? How could the Jewish people relate to God while expelled from their holy land?
This question isn’t simply academic – a historical curiosity. After all, we all experience times throughout our lives when we feel that God has hidden Himself from us. During these difficult times – whether during the illness of a loved one, a tough day at work, or even simply struggling to fine-tune our connection to God – how are we to make sure that we don’t suffer spiritual withdrawal? How are we to maintain our connection to God during those moments when He feels so far away?
God answers this question in his prophetic message to Ezekiel. He reminds the prophet that although the Jewish people have been sent into a difficult exile and have been dispersed throughout the world, they must still remember that no matter how far away from Israel the Jews have been sent, God remains “a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone” (Ezekiel 11:16). In other words, even when it is hard to see God finds a way into our lives, and serves as a sanctuary for us even until the ends of the earth.
And this is the ultimate comfort for all of us. Just as the Jewish people – no matter how far from their land they went – were accompanied by God, so too all of us – as disconnected from the Divine as we may feel at times – only need to look around us to see God at work in our lives.
Indeed, Ezekiel’s message to us whenever we feel we are at a spiritual low is that God watches over us — no matter what and no matter where.