Most of us have been in places where we didn't necessarily want to be. It could be a physical, emotional, or spiritual place. The Israelites were in a place they did not want to be. They were in exile in Babylon. Some of the people couldn't wait to leave and as soon as they could, they returned back to Jerusalem. Others settled in and made themselves at home with no plans of leaving anytime soon. God told the people through Isaiah 48:20 to "Leave Babylon, flee from the Babylonians! Announce this with shouts of joy. Send it out to the ends of the earth; say,"The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob."" I love the picture of salvation here. Leave your place of captivity, your sin. Do this with joy because why wouldn't you be joyful to be free. Tell everyone even those at the end of the earth about the Lord's redemption. We don't even have to stop there.
Let us take it a step farther in our personal lives. Have you ever felt captive to a habit or a wrong way of thinking? You knew you were captive and didn't necessarily like it. On the other hand, you were comfortable in this place. At different times in my life, I have struggled with times of depression. Last year during language learning was one of those times. I felt insecure and was struggling with learning the language. In my mind, I didn't think I could do it. I was believing the lies I heard in my head. I needed to leave this Babylon. I knew I needed to leave but leaving seemed too hard. I didn't like feeling insecure and depressed but in a sad way I was comfortable there. Stepping out might be too hard. What if I didn't feel any better. I am glad to say I did leave, and as I took the first step, God took my hand and led the way out. The sad thing is I don't really know if I went out with joy. I remember telling a few friends and family about it but no proclaiming was done. I don't like talking about my weaknesses with others. What would they think? Of course, the story wasn't about me. It was about what God did in setting me free from depression and my low self esteem. It was His story and he would have used it to His glory alone. These are truths I need to remember the next time I find myself in Babylon. Of course, I don't plan on going there anytime soon. May we leave our places of captivity with joy proclaiming to the ends of the earth that God is our redeemer.
Dear God, Thank you that you don't just redeem once but many times from our Babylons. May we proclaim your leading to the ends of the earth. Be with those who are content in their Babylons. Speak to their heart and lead them out. Amen