(If you’re just joining us, you’ll need to start with Part One for the series to make sense.)
Yesterday, we arrived at the point in the story in which “Plan B” (God’s people with a human king) had failed. Unjust and idolatrous Israel had been exiled to Babylon – away from the land, away from the presence of God, and under foreign rule. How were they going to fulfil their calling to be God’s image-bearers to the world?
But God’s people hadn’t given up hope. In Deuteronomy, God promised them that if they repented while in exile, he would gather them back. In Isaiah, they were told that this return from exile would be a time of healing, peace, justice, and self-rule. In Ezekiel, they were promised a new heart – the indwelling Spirit of God – who would enable them, finally, to live as God’s image-bearers under his rule. But when would all this happen? That’s what we’re asking today.
(And if you’re a long-time Christian who’s heard this big story many times before, today is where you might find a new detail in the plan that often gets overlooked.)