Today's reading talks about the greatest dispersion of the children of Israel. King Nebuchadnezzar took prisoner all the assets of Judah.
He took the king, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and all the officials. He took the gold implements and treasures from the temple. He took all the fighting men in the army. And he took all the craftsmen and artisans.
Nebuchadnezzar took control of the ruler and the political structure. So the civil authority was under Nebuchadnezzar's control.
He took all the gold implements for worship from the temple of Solomon. And the religious activity was under his control.
He took all seven thousand of the army, so there was no military force for him to contend with.
And he took all the craftsmen and artisans. Whoa! Why would he want the artisans and craftsmen?
Our God is a creator. He gave man the gift of creativity. That creativity is most active and expressed in the work of artisans and craftsmen. But when these artisans and craftsmen create, they sometimes reflect the root of God that is in them. Their works point to the greatness of God.
But Nebuchadnezzar didn't want the people of Judah remembering their God or continuing to worship Him. Therefore he took all the craftsmen so that they would be occupied only with the commissioned pieces that Nebuchadnezzar wanted made. They had no artistic freedom to create their pieces as God inspired. And there was no one left in Judah to create either.
He left only the poorest people of the land, those without money - and perhaps without talents or skills. He robbed the land of those who could make it shine - who had the heart and the wherewithal to make things better.
But God had promised that Judah will be restored. And it was so.
No matter what the world may take from you, God can restore. Nebuchadnezzar took it all, intending to wipe out Judah entirely -- but God restored.
No matter what the world does to us, remind us that You are the restorer. You can take the broken heart and heal it. You can take the ruined family and restore it. You can take the broken spirit and help it soar and sing. Help us to soar and sing, no matter.
In Jesus' most precious name.