OK, so through this week of blissful preparation for this post I’ve come to realize that this new weekly format is to be more of a Bible Study format than a devotional format. This was news that I was VERY excited about!!! 😀 so I hope you like the new format too, because I’m LOVING IT! Also, I will be posting last week’s sermon notes as the Bible study for next week, mostly because I just could NOT pass this lesson by without telling you about it!!! 😀 I pray that it encourages you, wherever you are in the pattern today. 😉 There is ALWAYS hope in Christ! Be blessed this week my friends! I cherish you! -Tamar
Last week’s readings:
“For I know the plans I have for you”, says the LORD, “they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you.” Says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14
This week’s readings were… sigh… encouraging! We started in Job where we meet a man who has been as faithful and obedient to the LORD as anyone can be. He was wealthy beyond the normal means, and comfortable in every way possible. And then disaster struck his entire household. In one day he had servant after servant presenting themselves to him in order to report that they had been the lone survivor of the attack that had just occurred on his family.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like Disaster was chasing your house and leaving you the sole survivor in order that you would retell the tale to someone else? And maybe, perhaps, that’s why you survived. To tell the tale of your SURVIVAL.
What have you been through? What have you survived that needs retelling? What’s your story my friend?
Job’s story started out in abundance and surplus but quickly turned to disaster and the loss of everything including his own health. BUT that wasn’t the end of his story, it was only the middle! My Dearest One, no matter where you are in your story, you’re not to the end yet! If you were, well, then you wouldn’t be reading this then would you?
Take a few seconds right now and review the end of Job’s story in: Job 42:10-17.
Words like, “the LORD restored his fortunes, in fact He gave him twice as much as before” and “So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning”, are kinda hard to argue with. While Job HAD endured a very difficult season in his life, it hadn’t ruined him. In fact, quite the opposite had occurred. It had shaped him. I’m guessing that while God did physically bless him with double portions of all his physical assets, I doubt that that is why Job went to the grave a happy man. I’m guessing that he was happy because he had achieved a newfound appreciation for all the things that he might have been taking for granted before the destruction came.
The story of Job establishes for us a pattern that the rest of our reading’s this week end up following as well. Which I see as no small coincidence! Job begins his story with obedience and abundance. Then he moves to complete destruction. And finishes with a renewal that is better and more abundant than before the story began.
This theme is taken up next in the prophecy of Joel, with but a small variation. While Job was amazingly dedicated to God in his obedience, the people in Joel’s story were not. Their story is one of disobedience and abundance that moves to a destruction of discipline. While Job’s troubles moved from a place of proving his obedience to God, the troubles of the people in the book of Joel were from a place of proving their disobedience to God in order to move them back into a place of obedience once more.
When destruction hits, it doesn’t matter if you’re obeying God or disobeying God, it will still hit. And when it hits it will show YOU your standing with God. Right now you are either looking to God, or away from Him. If you’re looking to Him, then this shaking will prove that. If you’re looking away from Him, then this shaking will prove that and cause you to look to Him again. That’s how this works. And the really amazing part is, that when the shaking is finished there is still a common thread – blessing!!!
Look at these verses in Joel for your confirmation of blessings after the destruction:
Joel 2:3 – How does the LORD describe the land that lies ahead?
Joel 2:25 – What are those first two words that God says in this promise? WHO is responsible for carrying out the results of this promise? You or God?
Joel 3:1 – In this verse, does the LORD say “if”? How would that little two letter word change the meaning of this verse? Isn’t it great that “if” isn’t the word He uses? What word does He use instead?
And here’s one from Isaiah just for good measure, don’t leave it out!
God is NOT ignoring you!!! He sees your troubles. He see’s what you’ve been going through – ALL of it! He knows your pain and frustration. He knows and He CARES about it. Read Joel 3:21 to see what He has to say about it. Or perhaps John 3:16-18 might be a more familiar way to explain.
You see, the theme that started in our readings of Job and continued into Joel concludes in John!!! While there is destruction, it’s not the end! The end of Joel presents us with a prophecy, a promise, of THE coming pardon, the fulfillment of the FULL pardoning of all our sins past, present and future. John 1:1-5 helps us to understand how Jesus – the fulfillment of the promise – is our answer to the destruction around us.
1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
Who is “the Word”? Jesus! And what does this verse say about Jesus that is the key to our renewal from destruction? His life brought LIGHT to EVERYONE.
Why is that a big deal? BECAUSE! The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can NEVER extinguish it!!!
Boy, if that’s not good news today then I don’t know what is! That darkness that’s trying to destroy you from the inside out can NEVER destroy the light that shines from a heart that believes!
Read John 10:10, what is Satan’s purpose? And what is Jesus’?
To wrap up a week of stories of renewal after destruction God put this great bow on the package that I simply can not leave out! Take a moment to re-read John 11 here.
Take a special look at the wording of verse 4, “This sickness will not END in death.” Yes, Lazarus died and lay in a cold DEAD grave for FOUR days and that STILL wasn’t the END! So don’t you dare tell me that you’re at the end of your story and that there’s no hope left for your dream to find its way to fruition! Look at verse 4 and 14, what was the purpose of Lazarus’ sickness?
Could your “sickness” have the same purpose?
Have you been lying cold and dead for four days in a rock hard tomb waiting for the Savior of the World to come and roll away your stone and say, “Lazarus, come out!” Is it time for your resurrection? How about today you appeal to, as Paul calls Him in Ephesians 3:20, the One who can do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or imagine. Let’s follow Martha and Mary’s eloquent lead and send HIM a message, “LORD, the one You love is sick.”
There may have been some destruction in your life as of late, but take heart my friend! For you time of resurrection is just around the corner!!!
Next Week’s Readings: