I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste. Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths. (Leviticus 26:33-34)
It didn’t happen at first, but over time I began to see something very interesting and very hopeful throughout the Scripture and that is: even when God imposes a severe consequence on us due to disobedience, He always, always has His eye on redemption. In other words, even those things considered harsh, and that seem to go against God’s original plan, eventually serves His ultimate purpose where restoration is concerned. That might be hard to perceive when He speaks to His people in a firm, disciplinary tone — “I will scatter you among the nations.” Nevertheless. scattering His people, because of their unbelief, ultimately brings to pass His overall goal — the “restoration of all things.”
I’ll put it this way: Israel’s dispersion was not a curse in and of itself because it served to spread His word among the nations. The tragedy of it lies in being scattered because of the sword which was brought upon them because of disobedience. Still, as the people are scattered so is the revelation to the other nations that there is but one God. In similar fashion, persecution is what prompted the Gospel to be spread throughout the world in the first century. It may seem odd, and maybe even unfair to us that it would be this way, but God knows what He is doing. He spread the seed of the Word knowing that, in the appointed time, the seed would begin to sprout up and bring a great harvest.
Eventually the offspring, natural and otherwise, of those who were scattered will be gathered back into the land. That is a recurring theme throughout the Scripture and is why, in part at least, the land had to rest and enjoy her Sabbaths. In other words, the land would be ready to receive those who were being gathered. As I said, God knows what He is doing and will bring about His purpose even when it seems His plan has gone off the rails.
That thought brings us to this one: His plan for you and me. Even when it seems our life has been derailed through circumstances of our own making or those things out of our control, God’s knows what He is doing. By that I mean, our redemption and restoration is never off the table as long as we hold on. And so, let’s close with something Paul said a long time ago:
And we know that all things (good and bad) work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Blessings and Shalom,