Blessings After Exile

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Question
What blessings did God offer Israel and Judah after they were exiled from the land?
Answer
There were many blessings that God offered Israel and Judah after their exile. When you go back even to 1 Kings 8 where Solomon is dedicating the temple, he talks about the time when God might exile them because of their disobedience, but he says wherever they are, no matter what situation they're in, they just need to look toward Jerusalem, they need to look toward the temple and pray to the Lord, and if they'll turn back to him, God will answer their prayer. He'll forgive them of their sins and he'll restore them to their land. Of course, one of the great covenantal promises of the Old Testament was the giving of the land of Israel to the Israelites, but one of the great judgments of the Old Testament was to take them out of their land. But the promise for exile is, though, "I'll bring you back." And what the exile does to the children of Israel is, they were given over to idolatry, and what the exile was going to do is burn idolatry out of their soul. And so, to bring them back in the land, and also, there were other promises given. For instance, they built a temple, a second temple. And when the people first saw that they were very disappointed because some of them remembered the first temple and the glory of that. But Haggai the prophet says, wait a minute, this second temple is going to have greater glory than the first temple, and the reason for that is that Messiah himself would come to that temple, and therefore, that temple was going to have a much greater glory than the one before. And so, even though they were going to be restored … from exile and so forth, they knew that their restoration was not the full promises of God, because Nehemiah, in chapter 9, talks about, we're still slaves, meaning that they were slaves, really, to the people of Persia at that time. They did not have total freedom yet, but the ultimate promise of restoration from exile was the coming of Messiah and that he would take away our sins. That was the ultimate promise of blessing of return from exile that the children of Israel were looking for.