Isaiah 48:17 – This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your well-being like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been like the sand,
your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be blotted out
nor destroyed from before me.”

20 Leave Babylon,
flee from the Babylonians!
Announce this with shouts of joy
and proclaim it.”  (NIV)

In today’s reading from Isaiah, God is commanding the people of God to flee from Babylon.  This passage follows the prophecy of the fall of Babylon to king Cyrus.  When Babylon fell, and when Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland, why would God need to command them to flee?  Wouldn’t they be eager to return home?  Wouldn’t they have a deep desire to return to their homeland, to reunite with long lost relatives?  We would like to think that this displaced group of people made a mass exodus much like their ancestors did when leaving Egypt centuries before.  The truth of the matter, however, is that only a small percentage of the people left Babylon.  There were several waves of returning refugees, but many chose to remain.  Why would they remain in Babylon?  They remained because they had grown accustomed to life in Babylon.  They had, in essence, become Babylonians.  They were comfortable. 

What a lesson for us!  Sometimes, we grow comfortable in our own ways.  We become comfortable with the language that we use, the grudges that we keep, and the prejudices that we hold onto.  We become comfortable with who and what we are.  While we may be good people, or not as bad as others, God calls us forward.  True, God loves us as we are, but God loves us too much to leave us this way! 

God’s love and grace continuously calls us to move forward in our discipleship.  God wants nothing more for us than to look back at where we are today from a year forward, or a month forward, and say, “Thank you God, for bringing me closer to you.”

Whatever it is that may be our Babylon – whatever it is that we have grown comfortable with – let us flee from it today!  Let us heed God’s call and move forward in our discipleship. 

Posted by Ramón Torres