I have been slowwlyly reading through my bible again, and yesterday I sleepily opened to 2 Kings, chapter 25. As I dutifully read through it, revelation dawned, as is so often the case with God's Word. The story begins by describing Babylon's siege of Jerusalem. I began to see how narrated siege and resultant captivity relates to the wounding of the human soul (often during childhood) and how such wounding leads to weakness, captivity and ultimately, a broken and visionless spirit.
Verses 1-2 reads:
So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 2 The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
Herein we have the initial attack, the two-year siege. The attack was inevitable, as the Enemy's entire purpose is hunting down a vanquishing prey. Reading on in verse 3 we see the result of the siege:
3 By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat.
Famine has set in. The city's supplies have been cut off, and reserves have run out. The enemy has succeeded in depleting and weakening the inhabitants. In desperation, the once assumedly strong army (with the King, who abandoned his city and people) breaks down it's own walls, under the cover of darkness, and flees, desperate for survival and no longer caring about the fate of the collective.
4 Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah [word meaning wilderness which could mean a state of non-prosperity!]…
The enemy was not content to let the army flee, however (there's no rest for the weary!):
5 but the Babylonian army pursued the king (Zedikiah) and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, 6 and he was captured.
I believe the King represents the will of a person: the command center and decision-making apparatus.
Continuing with the rest of verse 6 and on:
He was taken to…Babylon [place representing oppression] at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. 7 They killed [his] sons before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.
Continuing with the allegory theme, the eyes represent spiritual vision. His precious sons (representing his inheritance) were destroyed right in front of him, and then his (spiritual) vision was annihilated. Grief and loss of spiritual vision result from the brutality, so that he can no longer see the plan of God for him and the hope and destiny he's called to.
Skipping to verse 10: The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon. 12 But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.
Here the walls are broken down and the enemy invades and carries the inhabitants off into EXILE, leaving the POOREST in the land to carry on. This particular passage struck me as crucial: Satan's (and his minions-the demonic hordes) ultimate goal is to render us completely weak and incapable of grasping the essential truth: Our destiny is to RULE over this world, both physically and spirituall. His diabolical (and often vilely effective) plan is to ensure we spend our brief lives broken and subdued, brainwashed into thinking we are incapable of greatness.
13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the Lord and they carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 15 The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—all that were made of pure gold or silver.
Here the enemy desecrates the temple, removing its glory and the valuable objects that identified the place as holy. We too have been desecrated by the enemy, often at the hands of loved ones who have been unwittingly used as tools to hammer at our identities.
Skipping ahead to verse 19: Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and five royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land and sixty of the conscripts who were found in the city. 20 Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.
The warriors were stripped from the city, and then Judah went into captivity. Satan loves nothing more than to strip our fighting spirit. Without the knowledge of who we are in Christ, we are without strength and easily led into captivity, whether to lusts of the flesh (addictions), lust of the eyes (insatiable need to acquire material goods or security) and/or the pride of life (bolstering our own egos at the expense of others or constantly thirsting for affirmation, approval or power to gain value). 1John 2:16, KJV.
All this, of course is highly depressing and we ALL to some extent have suffered this pillaging of our identities. What then?
This verse, of course!
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. (2 Cor. 2:14)
Jesus won't leave us as captives and slaves. BUT we have to cooperate with Him in this. We have to be willing to do the hard work of letting the Holy Spirit PILLAGE us. To plunge down deep into our wounded souls and rout out the crud, bringing forth refined gold from the wounded, dead and decaying parts of our identity.
I am convinced that nothing comes without a fight. My son recently reminded another friend (and I took it to heart as well), that "the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force." (See Matt. 11:12). We need to VIOLENTLY reclaim our inheritance and identities back. We are not to passively sit on our hands and wait for the Lord to miraculously swoop in and fix us. Without our active collaboration with the Holy Spirit and our willingness to let Him into the dark and scary parts of our psyche, we will remain stagnant and unchanged.
Listen: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24).
Time to yield, time to let Him dredge up our pain and anger, time to let Him heal and restore, time to pick up our swords and enter the fray and take back the Kingdom.