In that testimony, when God’s people were at the very lowest point, that God used their neighbors the Assyrians and then in a larger way, the Babylonians- two groups/nations that were as far from Godly as any to ever walk the earth, to bring correction to His people.
This dark window is an inseparable part of the “story of Israel”. God used those who were not His people to bring His people back to Himself.
A lot of people have a personal story/testimony with a similar chapter. I have never hidden mine, as I am incredibly thankful that my LORD showed mercy and grace to me long before I was born-again. In my own book, the chapter of my earlier days of college at the University of Central Arkansas. That was a period of time where I had essentially jumped completely off the boat I had been raised in, turning to the flesh, and in particular – alcohol. My academic progress was hurt, but more significantly, I was further from a relationship with God than at any point in my life. My future was in jeopardy in many ways, and there really wasn’t much further to fall… It was at that very lowest time when God used the Mormons, through my very best friend in the world, to rip me from the gutter I had put myself in. I needed the extreme legalism, I needed to feel like somebody(other than my parents) loved and cared about me. They seemed to nhave all the “right answers”. So I bought what they were selling, hook, line, and sinker. For about 8 months, I walked the life of a member of the LDS organization. God used that time to completely liberate me fromnthe craving for alcohol. He also drew me to His Word. Towards the end of that time, the inconsistencies and contradictions in addition to the very awkward leaps I was asked to take to explain the glaring errors (even visible to me as a “lost” soul) I was seeing. I walked away.
But my story wasn’t over then, thank the Lord! For early in 2001, while I was reading the second book of the Jerry Jenkins & Tim LaHaye series “Left Behind” series, I again “heard” the saving Gospel. The Holy Spirit convicted my heart, opening my eyes and heart to confess my sins, to repent of a lifetime of rejecting and running, and to confess Jesus Christ as MY LORD and SAVIOR. I was born-again, beginning the most incredible chapter of my life: following and serving the LORD.
Do I believe that the Mormons are a true church? Not even close. There are massive problems with their theology, doctrine, and so much more. Yet while I am convinced they are terribly wrong, I am reminded that God can use ANYONE to accomplish His purpose and will. I am thankful for that chapter of my life. Now I pray for the souls of those who have not been liberated from that false “church”.
Also of interesting note, having moved several times over the last 25 years, the Mormons somehow continue to seek me out. Sometimes it is a year in-between, sometimes two or three. And each time, I see it as an opportunity to share the REAL Gospel of Jesus Christ. Usually, the missionaries that have found me thank me and excuse themselves.
Humorous happening- the new pastor at Park View Baptist Church (who followed me when I was called to my current pastorate here in Clinton) had a late- evening pair of visitors, asking for me there at the parsonage. You guessed it: Mormons! While the entire congregation at Park View has heard my testimony, including that chapter, Bro. Sheppard had not, so he was shocked, to say the least! So now Bro. Sheppard knows my testimony now.