The Old Testament is compiled of many books and authors. Despite having different contributors, the theme and direction of this collection of books are all the same: a holy God seeking out a fallen people in order to reconcile them to himself. Ultimately, this theme leads us to the person of Jesus who redeems the world and fixes the broken relationship between God and people. The exile created an identity crisis for the Israelites. They began calling themselves Jews - a word used by others to mean someone from Judah. But without land, a king, or a temple the Jews were unsure of who they were or whose they were. When the Babylonians conquered any people, the local deity came under the "authority" of the Babylonian god, Marduk. Because of this, many Jews started to assimilate to the religion and culture around them; others, however, preserved a sense of purpose and calling through the study of God's word. They understood the exile as punishment for sin and idolatry. The Bible does not record the Jews returning to political power, but it is clear that eventually they were free to practice their faith and worship God. Through all of this God continued to fulfill his promise to create a people through whom all nations would be blessed. The Old Testament scriptures end in anticipation that God will act in a new way to proclaim his judgment and salvation.
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