Marketplace. It is a bustling image, with booths and choices to be made and people scurrying. It evokes remembered smells and tastes and the feeling of unfamiliar crowds.
This chapter of the Greatest Story Ever Told follows Abraham and Sarah’s family into the marketplace of ideas and cultures that was the ancient near east. Nearly eight centuries passed between Israel’s entry to the Promised Land and a Babylonian army’s invasion of Jerusalem. That’s a long time for a family to live in a “house.” When that stay ended abruptly, with Babylonian armies besieging and then tearing down Jerusalem, the people were confused and angry and disoriented. Within weeks, they had a different address in an unfamiliar land and unfamiliar ideas.
History has its ironies, and Israel’s includes this: being forced out of the nest – the very thing they feared most – made Israel grow up in ways that they could not have known. In these pages and these weeks, we will see how that happened. It may help us access the ways that God has grown us up when we’ve been pushed out of our own comfy homes and into the bustling, challenging marketplace of our world.