Friday, August 26, 2011
Today’s Topic: Times of Renewal
Today’s Text: Isaiah 51:3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
Not many people along the east coast of the United States are thinking about joy and gladness right now. There’s not a lot of singing going on. They are preparing for the arrival of Irene, the hurricane poised to bring varying levels of ruin to a large part of that heavily populated region. Our prayers are with them and for them, but not just for their physical well-being. No, what is most significant is that these events in nature – from earthquakes to hurricanes – are a part of God’s call to spiritual revival and renewal.
Ever since sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, God has been using what Satan has intended for evil to bring people to their spiritual knees. It is in that position that renewal begins. That’s where the compassion and comfort of God are found. That’s where joy and gladness begin. That’s where the sound of singing can be heard.
The whole story of the world since the Garden of Eden is one of restoration. Satan is convinced that he has enough power to destroy God’s creation, and he has been determined to do it, especially focusing on people because we are created in God’s image. Nothing in the world is off limits to his vicious attacks. Nature itself with all of its power has been corrupted by the influence of man’s sin, and Satan uses it to what he thinks is his advantage.
But Almighty God, the One and Only Sovereign Ruler of all eternity, is making all things new. No matter how bad it looks right now, God is in the process of returning joy and gladness. Someday, when Jesus returns and sin has been vanquished, the earth will be restored for the time of His Kingly reign.
The nation of Israel stand as an example of destruction and desolation, with very few nations if any truly supporting the biblical claims to the Promised Land that God’s covenant demands. Fox News is reporting this today from Iran – “The Iranian president said on Friday there will be no room for Israel in the region after the formation of a Palestinian state, and that once the state is established, the liberation of all Palestinian lands should follow” . (Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/08/26/irans-ahmadinejad-no-place-for-israel-in-region/#ixzz1W8lalBNJ)
But here’s what the Lord promises to the nation of Israel – “Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations. My mercy and justice are coming soon. Your salvation is on the way. I will rule the nations. They will wait for me and long for my power. Look up to the skies above, and gaze down on the earth beneath. For the skies will disappear like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a piece of clothing. The people of the earth will die like flies, but my salvation lasts forever. My righteous rule will never end! (Isaiah 51:4-6)
Storms are required for us to experience the wonder of renewal: and God’s renewal is guaranteed. Without storms we would never know God’s grace, which is sufficient for every need. We need the needs. While there may be weeping in the night, morning is coming and joy will be restored. That’s the promise of God. But it all starts on our knees, looking up to the One who brings us salvation that lasts forever. Spiritual renewal must be our first priority.