Living in Babylon? 
This was the title of a talk given in March by Clifford Hill, author and Director of Prophetic Word Ministries, and his wife Monica. A number of people from Chase Family Church went to hear them at Enfield Baptist Church.

His central theme was to draw a parallel between God’s people exiled in Babylon and ourselves in the present day. Jerusalem had been besieged by King Nebuchadnezzar and his army, the temple desecrated and the people led away into exile (2 Kings 24). Babylon was far from home, geographically and culturally. Although thoroughly secular, it was undoubtedly ‘a nice place to live’; for many, the temptation must have been to settle down and be reluctant to leave.

What was God’s plan in this? Could it be that the Israelites were sent there to learn to live in an alien environment for a season, so that they would better appreciate God’s faithfulness and covenant love?  Moreover, this period of exile was a time of preparation, learning to be no longer dependent on institutions – in their case, the monarchy and the temple – and instead developing a redeemed community with the focus on the family unit, community, teaching and prayer.

What of ourselves? We can feel increasingly alienated from modern culture and face an onslaught of secularisation in society which sits uneasily with Biblical values. But in the midst of it, we also see that God is continuing to shake the nations as He promised (Haggai 2) exposing flaws in institutions, respected professions and ‘big name’ celebrities. We should not be disheartened. God is alive and at work in His church. The Christian presence may be smaller than it was, numerically – at least in the UK – but it is arguably more committed. And as the threat of persecution becomes more real, so our response should be to stand firm and take seriously the call to be salt and light in the world. That way, we can learn to live victoriously, even in ‘Babylon’. 

David Gray, 12/05/2014

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