The Exile of the Jews
In the curses that were part of the Mosaic covenant, the final punishment for continued disobedience was expulsion from the Promised Land. After centuries of rebellion the prophets predicted that this exile would come and Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC.
After the Exile
After the predicted exile, God fulfilled his promise to bring the people back to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A remnant returned and began to prosper but neglected to reestablish the worship of God in Jerusalem where Solomon had built the first temple. (Haggai 1:1-11)
This was their mission and they looked to their own prosperity and neglected God. God raised up prophets to challenge them. Haggai reminded them of their mission and told them that God would be with them when they committed to this work. (Haggai 1:13; 2:4)
“Work, for I am with you.”
God promised his presence as they committed to complete the work he had given them. This is similar to the promised presence of God as part of the Great Commission. “Make disciples” for “I am with you to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Like the returned exiles, God’s people in every age are in danger of losing their primary focus and descending into self-promotion and small self-centered agendas. When we do God’s work, we can experience God’s presence.
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