It was horrific! They were ripped from their dwellings, forced to travel for months, held as slaves for 70 years, everything about "home" was remembered and some had never seen the places they were told about. Their names were changed, they were expected to eat different foods and told to assimilate into their new surroundings or else!
Then one day, they were allowed to go "home." Just under 50,000 who made the four months' journey wanted to reclaim what they had left.
The story of the Jews returning from Babylonian captivity is found in the first six chapters of Ezra. Those chapters talk about how those returning exiles went to great lengths to restore their place of worship, the Temple; to restore their religious practices, festivals and sacrifices, to restore their relationship to Jehovah God. Ezra, the writer, tells about the almost insurmountable obstacles that cluttered their way and how their determination conquered those barriers. They wanted restoration with God. Being separated from Him by distance, by culture, even by kingly command did not quench that need to be once again close to their God.
And God Almighty has always wanted restoration with his creation. From the time man introduced sin into the world and God asked "where are you?" (Genesis 3:8-11) to the image of Jesus standing at a door knocking, waiting to be let in (Revelation 3:20), God has made it possible for man and woman to be "pure and Holy" again in His sight.
Like the Israelites of old, we too can find ourselves ripped from our homes, forced to go places we don't want and become slaves to our emotions and desires. BUT we can go "home" anytime we choose restoration with our Father.
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