A Place of Refuge

“But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape;
    it will be a holy place.
And the people of Israel will come back
    to reclaim their inheritance.
The people of Israel will be a raging fire,
    and Edom a field of dry stubble.
The descendants of Joseph will be a flame
    roaring across the field, devouring everything.
There will be no survivors in Edom.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Obadiah 1:17-18 New Living Translation

In contrast to the fate that God was predicting for Edom, Jerusalem would again be a place of refuge for those who survived the exile in Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. God had given Jerusalem a special place as the city where His presence dwelled at that time. Even though Jerusalem had suffered a major defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, God was not finished with Jerusalem, yet. The remnant of Israel and Judah would be reunited and their religious and cultural life would revolve around Jerusalem again. These events would set the stage for God to institute His spiritual Kingdom through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in the years to come.

History tells us that the Edomites were eventually known by their Hellenistic name of Idumaea. After being displaced from their homeland, the Idumaeans were eventually absorbed into Jewish culture during the Maccabean period nearly two hundred years before the time of Christ. Ironically, it was an Idumaean descendent, Herod the Great, who would oversee the building of the final Temple in Jerusalem. This temple would be the one standing when God initiated His new covenant and new Kingdom through Jesus. The spiritual Kingdom initiated by Jesus would become the final refuge for remnant people from all nations that would find their first identity in Him.

Those of us who follow Jesus today are part of this spiritual Kingdom. We have found a place of refuge from all human oppression and the systems of injustice that it creates. We also have the opportunity to be a place of refuge for those from all people groups who seek to escape the corruption of this world and the kingdoms of man that stand in opposition to the ways of God.

God, you provide a place of refuge for those whose hearts seek after your ways. Keep us safe from the kingdoms of this world that stand in opposition to You. Help us to be people that welcome Your remnant from all nations into this place of refuge.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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