God is with us in Word and Sacrament

Midweek Lent 5

Midweek Lent 5

Death to Resurrection: The Wilderness to the Promised Land

  • Joshua 3:1–6
  • Philippians 3:122–1
  • Matthew 3:13; 4:1–2

There are many sub-motifs of the “Death and Resurrection” motif in Scripture. One which plays an important role is the “Return from Exile.” Exile is being removed from the presence of God, or being removed from the Holy Land, the Holy City, and the holy temple. Frequently, the wilderness is the place of exile and considered to be the place where Satan dwells—an evil and dark place.

The first exile is when Adam and Eve are removed from the Garden of Eden. The people of God then were nomads until they were brought out of exile in Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan. Even though God announces that His presence is with His people even in exile, the Promised Land is where God desires to dwell with His people. That is where He establishes His dwelling in the temple.

When the Israelites go into exile in Assyria and Babylon, the concerns are telling. They are first concerned about the presence of the Lord. Is God with us? They are also very concerned about the condition of the Holy City and the holy temple. When they return from exile, they are tasked with rebuilding the temple. Because the temple is the place where God has determined to dwell with His people on earth, it serves as a constant reminder of His presence and His relationship with His people.

Ultimately, the “Return from Exile” sub-motif is fulfilled when we enter into the courts of the new Jerusalem, heaven. In the final return, once again, it is God Himself—Christ Jesus—who brings us home to the promised land.

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