“They went to Hilkiah the high priest and gave him the money that had been brought into the temple of God, which the Levites who were the doorkeepers had collected from the people of Manasseh, Ephraim and the entire remnant of Israel and from the people of Judah and Benjamin and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (2nd Chronicles 34:9)
God’s people are not identified with a nation. Israel learned this slowly. Division of David’s kingdom into Judah and Israel and exile from the Northern Kingdom to Assyria finally forced God’s people to develop a theology of the remnant, the righteous, obedient group preserved by God to fulfill His plans and promises. One hundred years after the fall of Israel as a kingdom, a remnant maintained their faith and supported Josiah’s reform. They faced the temptations and ridicule of foreigners brought in by Assyria to populate the northern territory (as noted in 2nd Kings 17:24-34). God’s people are those who trust Him even under ridicule and persecution. They is a remnant of those who identify themselves as people of God.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, we lift up and rejoice in the remnant of those whom after the Exile, returned home and gathered together to worship and praise Your holy name. In today’s climate of uncertainty and confusion and outright misstatements of us Your people, we remember those who came home to start over and to reestablish their relationship with You and to worship and obey Your Word. This we pray in your Son, our Savior’s name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“They will know we are Christians by our Love.”
“What has happened to us as a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved and have given us a remnant like this. Shall we again break your commands and intermarry with the peoples who commit such detestable practices? Would you not be angry enough with us to destroy us, leaving us no remnant or survivor? O Lord, God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of can stand in your presence.” (Ezra 9:13-15)
The cause of justice would have required the total destruction of the people of Israel. God in His grace left a remnant to repopulate the land and offer sacrifices of praise unto Him. If we are each totally honest, God’s has punished each of well short of what we thought He might have done; thus, we are appreciative of His grace upon us and have since sought to honor our relationship with Him as a result.
“Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers. The Daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a field of melons, like a city under siege. Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom,we would have been like Gomorrah.” (Isaiah 1:7-9)
Isaiah proclaimed the destruction of the land by a foreign invader, possibly the invasions by the Assyrians in 735 or 701 BC. The word for remnant or survivor here refers only to something left over, not to the holy remnant. Isaiah emphasized the completeness of the destruction rather than God’s action in preserving a righteous remnant. The very survival of God’s people rested on His grace.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“This is what the Lord says: ‘As a shepherd saves from the lion’s mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites be saved, those who sit in Samaria on the edge of their beds and in Damascus on their couches.’” (Amos 3:12)
God judges a rebellious people—-even those He calls His own. Here the emphasis lies on the completeness of the judgment rather than on the restoration of a surviving righteous remnant. Covenant establish a firm commitment in a relationship between two parties. The betrayal of such a relationship is utterly despicable. Such betrayal is sin even for peoples who do not know or serve the true God.