I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
Sometimes in your readings, verses jump out at you. You pause, and read it again. Then you take off your reading glasses and close the book, just for a minute or maybe ten, because you’re sobbing uncontrollably. Because in those words, there’s hope.
The Israelites messed up. I mean, these people had it all—they were God’s chosen. Like, when God personally leads you through the desert, you’re doing pretty all right. But they got comfortable. They got proud. Little by little, their priorities shifted. Until they were seeking their own glory, and worshipping gods that were not Him. But they repented. And God forgave them. Then they stumbled, again, and they cried to God, again, and He forgave them. Again. Repeat about eighteen hundred times.
Until God said, No more. And they were taken into captivity.
Israel was broken. Isaiah and Ezekiel spend chapter after chapter prophesying their destruction. But then: God makes a new promise. Sure, they’ll inhabit their own land again, eventually. But it’s not going to be the same. It’s going to be better.
I’ve been asked, “How did you listen to God?”
I didn’t. And I continued to not listen. As a result, He started stripping things away. Gradually at first. An attempt to get me to notice Him. To listen. And I continued to not listen, until I found myself sobbing on the living room floor because I felt empty and alone.
He didn’t just break me. I was shattered.
But then… I began to pray.
Every day. All day. I consulted Him for seemingly minor things. I consulted Him for seemingly major things. And He showed me my priorities. And wouldn’t you know it… I had them messed up. I mean, you don’t get to the breaking point by doing everything right, after all.
And just like the Israelites, He started to rebuild me. Not into the person I once was. There was no picking up those pieces, even if they were worth salvaging. He was building a new creature, one that was more good than ever before.