God Gives And He Takes Away

People of Zion, celebrate in honor of the Lord your God!
He is generous and has sent the autumn and spring rains in the proper seasons.
24 Grain will cover your threshing places;
jars will overflow with wine and olive oil.

25 I, the Lord your God, will make up for the losses
caused by those swarms and swarms of locusts I sent to attack you.
26 My people, you will eat until you are satisfied.
Then you will praise me for the wonderful things I have done.
Never again will you be put to shame.

27 Israel, you will know that I stand at your side.
I am the Lord your God—
there are no other gods.
Never again will you be put to shame. Joel 2:23-27 (CEV)

Lectionary texts for this week: Joel 2:23-32, Psalm 84, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18, Luke 18: 9-14

This Scripture passage from the prophet Joel is very familiar to me. I read it often during the five years that I attended the Pensacola Outpouring (revival). And yet today was the first time I read it with the emphasis on all that God takes credit for.

God will pour out. This is the part of the passage that I remember. God pouring out His many-facted blessings. Even now I am sitting in my home enjoying the beginning of the fall weather with its light, soaking rains. That is the kind of Holy Spirit impartation that I need, a slow, soaking of God’s wisdom, knowledge and love.

God sent the locusts! I admit to some shock as I read that it was God who has sent the locusts into my life to attack and devour! Why would He do that? To teach and discipline. Is there any other answer that is in keeping with His character? Like any good parent, God wants His children to obey out of love. But He will also use negative consequences when I make poor choices.

I AM. The LORD my God makes it clear and plain that only He is worthy of my love and allegiance. My loyalty and love belongs to no other but Yahweh. He will not tolerate anyone or anything that I place in front of Him in my priorities.

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul shares how God was there for him when others deserted him. And I also add my testimony to that statement. When others have left me in my time of need, Jesus was right there. I have felt the strong arms of God holding me when I was too weak to stand. And more often now I am also learning that with a humble heart and spirit, I will find God closer and more understandable.

Jesus pointed out in Luke’s gospel account that it was the humble sinner who went home forgiven and justified, not the proud Pharisee. This passage always reminds me of a wonderful woman of God that I know who would be thought of as a leader in God’s Church. But during the Pensacola Outpouring when our fellowship frequently had teaching conferences, she would, without calling any attention to herself, quietly clean and restock the bathrooms. She was following Jesus’ example to be a servant. She went home from those conferences each evening, justified.

God truly pours out in great extravagance upon His children. He also takes from them with a heart that is filled with love. As we, His children, continue to spend time with Him, talk to Him and learn from Him, we grow in our confidence of His unconditional love.

Blessed Be Your Name written and sung by Matt Redman






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