Tuesday, September 27, 2016
“Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. “This is what the Lord says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them. Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Jeremiah 32:36-44(NLT)
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, preached pretty much a message of gloom and doom. Then it all changed; he became a prosperity preacher! The point was that God was going to restore prosperity to His people after a time of discipline. Many point to the historical re-population of Palestine after World War II as the fulfillment of this prophecy. I look at it as the prelude to fulfillment, with much more to come. God is not done with Israel!
Some are fond of looking at Israel and proclaiming the church as the New Israel. While there are parallels to draw between the church and Israel, a quick rehearsing of history would tell a chilling truth that if you want to step into that role, it isn’t all beer and skittles. Think hatred, persecution, and holocaust! Israel’s history is fraught with pain.
The church has had its share of all of that, and, like Israel, God is not done with His bride; not by a long shot, especially when you consider the promise of Revelation:
Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” Revelation 19:6-9(NLT)
As Yogi Berra used to say: It ain’t over till it’s over.
There are those who proclaim the end of the church, as if somehow the current malaise in God’s church translates as total failure, and the next generation will now, with its technology and information-sharing, have to save the Kingdom.
Well, the Church is always going through transition, strains of tradition, and trouble. Jesus never claimed it would be easy or clear cut; walking by faith never is! But walking by faith also means walking towards the light.
And that is the greatest form of prosperity, bathed in the light of truth, to stumble no longer in the darkness of this age.
God is not done with Israel.
God is not done with the Church.
Do you see a pattern here? That pattern means God isn’t done with you either!
There, I’m a prosperity preacher!
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