The people of Israel had been exiled as the consequence of their choice to reject God and His ways. Since God’s presence rested on the Temple in Jerusalem, they were, in actuality, sent from His presence.
Where God’s presence is, there is peace, joy, and life. When His presence is gone, there is turmoil, chaos, and sorrow, whether the reason for what’s being experienced is understood or not.
Here the psalmist recounts how God is rebuilding Jerusalem and bringing His people back. These broken, hurting children return to His presence where their wounds of mind, heart, and soul are cleansed, treated, and healed.
God does this for us. When we choose self over Him – and isn’t all sin just that, a pleasing of self – we walk out of His presence into exile where turmoil, chaos, and sorrow soon fill us. Not just a guilty conscience sort of thing, but an overwhelming sense of loss, a feeling that the world is not right, and that no matter what we try, we cannot change that. Hopelessness rules.
Thankfully, God rebuilds our Jerusalems, too.
When we choose Him through confession (agreeing with Him that we’ve done wrong) and repentance (turning from the sin back to Him), He is completely faithful and perfectly just to forgive all our sin and cleanse us from our unrighteousness. He returns us to His presence where we again experience peace, joy, and real life.
Are you living in exile today, my friend? Are you captive to the things you thought were wonderful, freeing, and fun? Do you feel like your life is only aimless wandering? Choose God. If you’ve never accepted His free gift of life through the sacrifice of Jesus, today is your day to choose Him. Step into God’s presence by leaving your old life behind and entering new life through salvation.
If you’ve known salvation but now are outside God’s will, living the exiled, unprotected life, return to Him. Simply agree with Him that the choices you made were against Him and His will for you, then turn away from those things that keep you separated from His presence. His love for you has not waned. Sin, however, removes us from that closeness, from the walk with Him, from the joy of our salvation.
Today let’s all head back to our Jerusalem, that place of God’s presence, of His touch, of living in His will. Let’s rest in His healing touch, feeling our wounds from exile bandaged and cared for. Then let’s maintain that residence by choosing Him over pleasure, over desires, over everything else, every moment of every day.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.