Wednesday, April 07, 2010


I've been thinking a lot recently about Exile. In the Old Testament - the first part of the Bible written before Jesus was born - God's people end up in exile. First the nothern tribes known as Israel and then the Southern tribe Judah.

I've been reading the books written by two prophets - Isaiah and now Jeremiah, and we spent a lot of time in church thinking about Isaiah in particular.

One image just won't go away. When Jacquie was preaching she compared God sending the nation into exile because it had fallen away from Him and betrayed His trust to a paretn putting their children onto "the naughty step".

I know, I know, we're not allowed to call it a Naughty step any more - a "Thinking Step" then.

God, having called a nation for His own, puts up with a lot of hassle. He sends preacher after preacher, prophet after prophet, sign after sign. He's counting 1...... 2......

And when He get's to three the people are off, onto the Naughty Step of exile for 70 years. He lets them be taken away from the land He has given them because they have failed him.

It got me thinking - What would it take for God to put us on the naughty step? At what point will Jesus say, "Enough!" Is it enough that we live in a time of Grace rather than Law? Because of what Jesus did on the Cross God's love and mercy are now the standards by which we are called to live, not the demands of the Law. Surely "Exile" is not part of God's plan?

And then a disturbing thought comes to me. I love my children, yet I will send them to the "Naughty", sorry, the "Thinking Step", even though I will forgive them when they say sorry, even though I will hug them when the time of "Thinking" and "Repenting" (saying sorry), is over. Even though I use Love and Mercy and Grace in trying to bring them up (or at least I try to), sometimes some "time out" is needed to help them understand what they have done.

How close are WE to God's naughty step?

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