Exile is a significant, recurring theme in Scripture. Following their sin, Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden. Cain was punished with exile after committing the first murder. Israel was exiled and scattered after the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests. Even Joseph, Mary, and Jesus spent a short time in exile in Egypt, fleeing from the wrath of King Herod.
Exile, however, is not the end of the story. God has prepared a homecoming! In this final section of our month’s study, we’ll examine images of mountains in Bible prophecy, where we’ll see how they play an important role in this homecoming theme.
Ezekiel was commissioned to prophesy to the mountains of Israel (v. 1). This literary approach personifies the mountains, as if they can hear and respond. The mountains and the land in general are of course symbols of the nation of Israel. Whatever happens to one happens to the other.
The message was that the enemies of Israel will be judged (vv. 2–7). They thought that since Israel had been conquered and its people sent into exile that the land now belonged to them. They had gleefully and maliciously taken advantage of the situation, plundering whatever they could. They were the embodiment of kicking someone when they’re down, and their actions had offended the Lord. This would stop (vv. 13–15).
Israel, on the other hand, will be blessed (vv. 8–12). The people would return from exile to their homeland. In preparation, the fields should be replowed and the towns rebuilt. God’s faithful love for His people would be renewed and they would prosper again. They deserved none of this, but they had a loving, faithful, covenant-keeping God!
Some days we feel as though we’ve been exiled or abandoned by God. A good psalm to read is Psalm 13, which begins: “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” The emotions are honest—and so is the faith.