I have a week's worth of thoughts to unload on you all... so bear with me. I spent the past week at Youth Camp with my students.
And God met us there.
The speaker was James Darby and the praise & worship was led by the Justin Cofield Band. The theme for this week was CAPTIVE - out of the text of Jeremiah 24.
In this text, God affirms that those who are his people are the ones that are going through hard times. And those who are ridiculing those going through hard times are not the people of God, instead they are arrogant.
The idea of CAPTIVE was first applied to this text as the priests and other leaders taken to Babylon after their invasion of Israel in 597BCE. Revelation 13.10 also reflects this sentiment that God's people are often to stuggle through hard times, but these times are trials we will endure. Further, those who endure the trials are the ones God is making stronger.
This idea was novel in contrast to the traditional Hebrew idea of punishment through captivity. But there and in many other prophetic books including Isaiah, captivity is God's way of strengthening, not just correcting.
Those held captive by the Chaldeans (in Jer. 24) were about to endure some of the hardest times imaginable, it would cost the very lives they'd known. But God wasn't through. In about 60 years, these people would be restored to their homes following the Persian overthrow of Babylon.
God is good to his people. He loves us. He captures us. And through our earthly captivity of hardships and trials, if we allow God's love and plan to guide us, we find that it is His love and grace that indeed have captured and captivated us.
God arrested me this week. More to come.