For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
This was a necessary season for the people of Judah. Some had entered the captivity as part of God’s judgment upon the people. Now they dwelt in Babylon instead of Jerusalem, but God still had a plan for them. After 70 years, they would return. God would keep His promise to them. They just had to endure, and even thrive, in the meantime. Their expected end was a return home, so they could live with that understanding, and that would make all the difference for how they handled their time in captivity.
Often we face seasons like this ourselves. Sometimes it is due to the consequences of our sin. Sometimes it is due to the consequences of simply living in a sinful world. Sometimes it is a necessary thing for God to work something else out, and we just have to make the best of that time and understand that God has a plan for us even in that undesirable thing. His promise always stands in any generation that if we seek Him, He will be found. And maybe it takes a season in captivity to draw our hearts away from something in this world and back to Him.
For Judah, there was no going back to undo their situation. There wasn’t a way to fix it or gain back just now what was lost. Their course was set in stone, in a way, and now they just had to move forward into it. That is the truth of so many situations that we face, too. We can’t go back. We can’t undo. But we can move forward with hope in God, or else we lose hope by focusing on the hardship of our situation instead. It’s not always the resolution that we wanted. It doesn’t always turn out how we would have chosen it to go, but God still has something for us at the end of it.
God really does have a plan for us. Sometimes it involves these kinds of detours that take us away from what we had planned for ourselves. But let’s be willing to submit to Him even in those painful seasons of life. Let’s not rush His timing. Let’s accept His will. And let’s determine to come out stronger on the other side. God kept this promise to the people in captivity all those years ago. And He will keep His promises to us. He can be found. He will be near. He is always faithful.