Joy
Posted By Nan

Matthew 13

We are now into the New Testament. Here in Matthew 13 there are many parables. Many familiar parables. Two verses mention the word joy.

The first is contained in the parable of the seed sown in many places. Here the seed is sown among thorns and is choked, it is sown on good soil and grows well and it is sown on rocks where it springs up quickly and then withers away. Jesus described the seed sown on rocks as the word of God being received by people who were full of Joy at such a wonderful revelation of God but then the worries of life caused them to give up their faith. It is sad that many people’s faith in God does not survive hard times. This usually happens because they have not developed a personal relationship with God that has given them a strong relationship to survive the hard times.

The other parable is the one of the man who finds a treasure in a field. He is filled with such joy that he gives up everything else to pursue that treasure. Similar to the seed sown on rocky ground but different in that the man’s Joy transforms into a strong, lifelong relationship with God.

We need to be wary of getting caught up in the joy of worship and neglecting the personal, one to one relationship with Jesus. That strong relationship will protect us from falling away and losing our Joy and faith in hard times.

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Joel 1

The book of Joel is a prophetic book to the people of Israel. It is set during a time of a devastating locust plague. In this first chapter Joel is describing to the people how their joy at the bountiful life they lead has been stripped away by the locusts.

As with the other prophets, Joel tells the people it is judgement for them turning away from God.

No matter how much secular “joy” we may feel, true Joy comes from God and from His love for us. Joy comes from the time we spend with God. It comes as a response to our worship and attention to God. 

The people of Israel had once again become caught up in things there were not of God and they had already lost their Godly Joy without realising. Now they were losing any joy because of the locust plague. 

This happens to us too. We are full of worship and time spent with God. We feel great joy as a response to that connection to God. Then we get caught up in other things and forget to spend as much time with God. We don’t notice as our Joy slips away because we are doing well and things are good. We are feeling that secular joy, a poor imitation of God’s gift to us. Then things don’t do so well and we suddenly notice our joy is gone.

This is the time when we need to recognise this as a reminder to return to God. Then true Godly Joy can once again flow in our lives.

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Ezekiel 24

The book of Ezekiel is one that issues both a warning and hope. In this book, Ezekiel is told by God to take a wife who is largely unfaithful to him. She represents the clans of Israel in their unfaithfulness to God and the covenant He made with them. The relationship with Ezekiel and his wife is a metaphor for the people of Israel and their relationship with God. In this chapter Ezekiel’s wife dies. God instructs Ezekiel to not perform any of the rituals usually performed by mourners, but instead to continue with life without any ritual. When he is questioned about his behaviour by those around him, he responds by giving them God’s message that a time will come when they will not be able to mourn their dead. All their joy will be taken away from them and they will be in exile. 

Another aspect of Ezekiel, one that the exiles drew strength from, was that Ezekiel gave a message from God about the restoration of all His people from exile some day. This gave the people in exile a glimmer of hope.

This is one of many Bible passages I have discussed that show God taking people’s Joy away.

We have seen how Joy, true Joy, is a gift from God. We have seen that God can take our Joy and He can give it. We have learned that we can express Joy when we worship God and acknowledge him, that Joy is a response to our relationship with God. We have learned that what the secular world describes as joy is not true Joy. Joy is a gift from God.

Joy comes at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. Just when all hope seems lost, Joy can spring up to demonstrate there is still hope and God is still with us.

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Ezekiel 7
This book was written at the same time as Jeremiah. Ezekiel, like Jeremiah had been sent by God to warn the people of Jerusalem about the coming judgement on them. The destruction of their city and their way of life.

It is apt that we come to this verse on Easter Saturday, the day between Friday and Sunday. 

For the people of Jerusalem the time for their joy was coming to an end. Instead of joyous celebrations, they were to become a people bowed low with suffering and grief. Everything they owned. The wealth they placed so much faith in. All was to become worthless. They would mourn, tear their clothes, shave their heads, wet themselves in sheer terror. They would know the day of judgement from God had come. And they would have to pay the price.

As we wait between the day of Jesus’ death on the cross and the day of his rising from the dead, we sit in a no man’s land of hopelessness. For the people of Ezekiel’s time, that type of day was coming. God was judging them and there was no one to pay the price. God expected them to pay the price for their sins.

The people were to be thrown into the despair and hopelessness of all they knew and loved being destroyed. Of an uncertain future. Of wondering if God would ever renew His relationship with them again.

In a similar way, the followers of Jesus spent they day between the crucifixion and the next day in a state of terror and fear. Everything they had come to believe in and hope for appeared to have been destroyed. They were not to know that the next day would bring Jesus’ resurrection. The next day would bring hope and so much more.

For the people of Jerusalem, whose hedonistic pursuits of self were to come crashing down in a total destruction of all they had, hope would be gone.

The people of Ezekiel’s time had no death on the cross to hold on to. That had not yet happened. They had nothing to atone for their sins. They had no hope.

They were to learn an important lesson. Obey God. Make Him the focus of your attention and hope. Put your trust in Him. Be patient. He will restore you in His time. In the case of the people of Jerusalem that was to be 70 years. So no impatience. 

We likewise must learn that important lesson.

When bad times come it will be confusing. It will seem hopeless. Joy may well seem a thing of the past. The joy we feel when all is going right and we can celebrate God’s abundant blessings and acknowledge Him as the one who blesses us. It is possible the people of Jerusalem felt that weaker secular ‘joy’ that was not true Joy. They weren’t going to feel that either once they faced God’s judgement.

For real joy we need to seek God. We need to acknowledge His control over our lives. We need to acknowledge all He has done for us. And we need to express our gratitude at all He has done. Then we can experience His Joy.

The people of Jerusalem were going to have to learn again how to know and worship God.

The Disciples cowering in fear were going to have to wake up to a new day and a risen Christ.

We have to hold fast to God’s promises and maintain our faith in Him and all Jesus did for us on the cross.


This blog will pause until April 17 while I attend a family function interstate. 

 
Joy
Posted By Nan

Lamentations 5

Just like the previous blog, the cry of Lamentations 5 echoes the cry of Lamentations 2.

The people are completely defeated. They are enslaved. Everything has been destroyed. Despair is everywhere.

The people realise it is their punishment.

In their despair they cry out to God. They acknowledge he is the Lord and He reigns forever. His throne endures from generation to generation. There is a recognition of God’s greatness. But there is also a recognition of the wrong they have done to earn this rejection.

The people are repentant, very repentant. They realise the punishment is for their sins. They ask for redemption but are not sure it will come. But they are willing to come back to God when He calls them back.

There are times in all lives when we face something terrible we have done. We are truly sorry. God forgives us. But we still have to face the consequences of our sin. Sometimes, like the Israelites, we need to be brought low before we are willing to acknowledge our sins and ask God for forgiveness.

The people of Israel needed a lot of time to learn better how to honour God. 

This is not to say that every bad thing is punishment from God. Far from it. But there are times when God does bring us low so that we may turn to Him for help.

It is fitting that a day away from the day we remember Jesus’ death on the cross we come to this chapter. We can remember the hopelessness of those watching Jesus die on the cross and wondering what happened to all their hopes and expectations. They were not to know then that Jesus was dying to give them the redemption they and we needed.

Let us never forget the gracious gift of forgiveness and payment of sin that Jesus won for us on the cross.

 

 

 
Google

User Profile
Nan
Female
Australia

 
Archives
 
Visitors

You have 528346 hits.