This last Thursday I gave the closing prayer at the Stand and Pray Georgia event at the State Capitol (www.standandpraygeorgia.com). There I reiterated what I believe that God has been saying to me since 2008, that revival will NOT occur in our land, UNTIL it occurs in Christian’s hearts, and that it isn’t occurring in our land, tells us that IT ISN’T occurring in our hearts.
So let me ask a question: Does God love us enough to, metaphorically, “take us out to the woodshed?” Before you say yes, consider what I saw this morning…
This morning’s passage reminded me of the events of the last few days. No one doubts that God loves us right? But here’s the question, how much does He love us? In fact, how far is He willing to go to show us Godly Fatherly love? I was reminded of this while reading Joel 2:13. It was the last phrase of the verse that caught my eye afresh, “He relents from sending calamity.” (NIV)
Here’s the context of the verse in the New American Standard:
Return with All Your Heart
12“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil. 14Who knows whether He will not turn and relent And leave a blessing behind Him, Even a grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God?
The end of verse 13 means that, “He relents from sending calamity.” (NIV) So, if He relents at sending calamity, or “relents from sending disaster.” (HCSB), then what does that tell you of His relationship to disaster? As hard as this may be to hear, it tells us that 2 Chronicles 7:13 is TRUE! That God sends natural disasters, things that badly impact our finances and pestilences upon our body.
Now, this article isn’t long enough to discuss two questions that come up, 1) God sending things versus God allowing things in our lives; and 2) that verse 14 of Second Chronicles 7 ISN’T a prayer! 2 Chronicles 7:14 is what we are TO DO, BEFORE God will listen to us. Just look at verse 15 where He says, “NOW I will listen to what you have to say.” Here is the point of these two questions that I can’t get into, the authority of the Word. The Word HAS to be taken into account. Words have meaning, and so we cannot deny the clear wording of scripture, when we don’t like what they say.
Moving on, I believe that the same Old Testament passages above, are told in Romans 1, where God says that because people choose to worship something other than Him (Romans 1:23,25) He turned them over to their lusts (Romans 1:24). But their guilt was not restricted to sexual disobedience. Look at verses 29-31:
They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. (Romans 1:29-31)
In the last half of Romans 1 God is against, SOMEBODY. So, who, or whom is He against? The answer is that God is “against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people” (Romans 1:18m). The rest of the verse then says what godlessness and unrighteousness in people causes. Namely, they suppress the truth (Romans 1:18e). I would say it this way, “the outcome of their godlessness and unrighteousness is that ‘by their unrighteousness [they] suppress the truth.'” Romans 1:18
Stick with me now as I make this jump…
Isn’t THIS the reason we need revival? We need revival IN OUR CHURCHES because the people OUTSIDE of the church that know us, our kin, coworkers, neighbors, etc. They know us, and our unrighteousness in front of them suppresses the truth of God!
Let me say it this way, do those who are our kin, coworkers, neighbors, etc. who know us, who really know us, do they want our Jesus? By and large, NO! That is why we need revival, to revive US, you and I, in the church!
And that is why God loves us enough to metaphorically, “take us out to the woodshed” to get our attention, so that WE WILL CHANGE.
Friends, our problems ARE NOT out yonder, they are right here, in your heart and mine.
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