God brought the consequences for Israel’s failure to them through the Babylonian and the Assyrian armies. Assyria destroyed the Northern Kingdom around 721 BC. Babylonia destroyed the Southern Kingdom, including the Jerusalem temple, around 586 BC. The destruction was horrible, and the invading armies were vicious and unmerciful in their treatment of the Jews. But there are still Jews today! Although scattered throughout the world, the Jews managed to maintain their national identity. This is the only case in history where such a people kept their heritage intact after being so thoroughly conquered. Some have argued that this in and of itself is evidence that there is a God. The odds of them surviving were so against them that their survival was seen as a miracle. Isaiah seems to agree with that as he tells of Israel’s survival. In Isaiah 1:9, we read, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” They credit their survival to the “Lord of Hosts.”

In Genesis, during the days of Abraham, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were powerful cities that God wiped off the earth in a single evening. It’s reminiscent of God’s destruction using the flood waters in Noah’s day. But God has recently promised not to destroy the world with a flood again, so he chose a different method for dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah. He used fire and brimstone. One website says, “Careful study of the Bible reveals that these two cities devolved into debauchery and violence. There was nothing they would not do, no person they were not willing to violate.” Further, they rejected all of God’s offers to repent. “God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as punishment for their wickedness, their lack of repentance, and to stop their evil from spreading.”[1] Sodom and Gomorrah were totally wiped out, and there is no remnant of the inhabitants other than Lot and his incestuous offspring, the Ammonites and the Moabites. But even those who survived after their flee from Sodom no longer exist today. This was the hand of God at work. He left no survivors.

The hand of God was also at work in the preservation of His people Israel. He did leave survivors. Just as prophesied, Babylon was conquered by the Persians. The rise of a new power contrary to Babylon arose to decide the future of nations according to the plan of God. Just as Biden reversed the policies of the former president, so to did Cyrus reverse the policies of Nebuchadnezzar. He sent captives back to the land to rebuild the city, the walls, and the temple of God in Jerusalem.

The work of the “Lord of Hosts” is still seen today. Although they were in exile again from 70 AD until the end of World War II, they still exist. Israel’s return to its homeland after 2,000 years of exile is a unique story in world history. It is miraculous. They are alive and well and occupying their own land again. There is huge resistance to their existence, but they are alive, flourishing with the support of most of the Western world powers. Their revival as a nation was totally dependent on immigrants. We have a major problem with immigration today. The mistreated masses are seeking asylum or a better way of life in the USA as well as other countries. But the immigrants to Israel in 1948 had spiritual motives. They wanted to help rebuild the place for God’s people.

A deeper dive into some of the details of what happened in 1948 reveals just how true that is. There were over a million Jews who made that move. A third of them were penniless Holocaust survivors whose entire families had just been murdered. To protect themselves from the hatred of the Arab world around them, 23,000 of them were conscripted into Israel’s new army as they landed and were given two weeks of military training. The others who came were refugees from Muslim countries where they had lived for centuries under severe persecution. They arrived destitute and devastated. Israel airlifted fifty thousand Jews from Yemen and a hundred and twenty thousand from Iraq. We have a very difficult time absorbing immigrants to the US today. But Israel has absorbed more immigrants per capita than any other country in history. The rebirth of Israel as a Nation proves there is a God and that God is the God of the Bible.

[1] Why Did God Destroy Sodom and Gomorrah – The Real Reason (biblestudytools.com)