“Then the LORD sent bands of Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite, and Ammonite raiders against Judah to destroy it, just as the LORD had promised through his prophets. These disasters happened to Judah because of the LORD’s command. He had decided to banish Judah from his presence because of the many sins of Manasseh….”
2 Kings 24:2-3 NLT
Before we label God “cruel” for banishing His people, let’s consider a parallel illustration. What if after years of precious intimacy in marriage, the wife decides to run after other lovers? The husband lovingly pleads with his bride to stop, but instead she brings those lovers home, and even decorates special rooms for intimacy with each one! After watching the one he loves “worship” other men year after year, wouldn’t that husband finally banish his wife from their home, simply because his heart was broken?
That’s exactly why God banished Judah from their home. For nearly four hundred years He had pleaded with His Bride to stop loving false husbands. Even though Judah would sometimes repent, soon she’d run right back to those false lovers. Eventually she brought THEIR images INTO the Temple and even built altars of worship to THEM—in the very place that was dedicated for worship to GOD alone! Judah chose who she wanted to worship, and that choice broke God’s heart.
Relationship is a precious gift God lovingly gives anyone who accepts His invitation. However, if we scorn His pleas and bring other gods into the relationship, sooner or later God’s jealous love will banish us to our own ways. But remember, Judah’s story did not end there…
Even though God banished them from their home…
God never banished them from His heart!