by Pastor Greg Fowler
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For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back (Isaiah 54:7).
In 1970, Joni Mitchell released the song Big Yellow Taxi, which included the cliché ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’. Everyone has experienced profound loss after something we have taken for granted is removed from our life. It could be a graduation, where the school that felt like such a pain then seems now like a place of growth and love. It could be a relationship where a continued focus on a few annoying things blinded one party to the deep love and joy of the partnership.
When God’s people were taken to Babylon, they thought God had abandoned them. The truth, of course, was that they abandoned God a long time before, and the exile was the natural consequence of rejecting Yahweh. Judah had become unloving toward God and didn’t see the blessing that came from the covenant. It was in this exile that God’s people clearly saw what they had lost. They had time to ‘think about what they had done’, so to speak, and they wanted to be reunited with God.
In response, we see our God’s incredible love on display. Not only did God return them to Judah, but he blessed them so much that they needed to enlarge the places of their tents to accommodate everything that the Lord would give them. If only they had remained faithful in the first place, they could have avoided the horror of exile. God blessed them with new love.
Do we take our relationship with God for granted? How long has it been since we took the time to number his blessings in our life? When was the last time we told another person how much God means to us? Let’s not empty our relationship with God of its joy and power. In praise and thanksgiving, we acknowledge our special place in his heart.
Lord God, thank you for your faithfulness to us. As we see your actions in our lives, may we give thanks and praise for your great love. Amen.
Pastor Greg lives in Adelaide and serves as pastor of Golden Grove Lutheran Church and Golden Grove Lutheran Primary School. He is blessed to spend lots of time with his grandchildren, Teddy and Olivia. His spare time is taken up with golf, Formula 1 and going out with his beautiful wife.