The Joy of the Lord

Nov
2012
02

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Quick!

Bring the best robe and put it on him.

Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. 

Let’s have a feast and celebrate

Luke 15:22-23

I heard a sermon entitled, “What is the Joy of the Lord, and how do I keep it?”  The pastor compared Nehemiah 8:2-10 with Luke 15, the story of the Prodigal Son.  My summary is that the Lord rejoices when we repent and turn to him; and that He is happy to cover our sin, which is symbolized by Him clothing us.

Nehemiah is a book about rebuilding what was broken.  Pastor said that we were given a life that we messed up by doing things in our own strength.  When Nehemiah read the book of the law to people, they wept (8:9). Nehemiah comforted them and told them to eat, drink, celebrate, and send food & drink to people who didn’t have anything (8:12).  In other words, Pastor said that people could celebrate once they realize that God is happy to receive them back; and that the food represents the gospel (bread of life, living water), which the celebrants should share with people who don’t know about God’s forgiveness.

Pastor used the Prodigal Son story to illustrate his point.  When the son returned home in rags, he met a Father who was happy to receive him back, not a Father who reluctantly or half-heartedly took him in.  Pastor explained the symbolism in the story.  The robe is to cover sin.  The ring represents God’s authority, power and name.  Shoes signify a journey.  When we allow God to give us shoes, He’s saying to us, “we’re journeying together, no longer are you walking alone.  No longer will you do things in your own strength.  I’ll give you the strength you need to do things My way.”  The house is the Kingdom of God.  When we come to Christ and become part of the family & household of God, God leads the whole kingdom in celebration.  It is the Father’s joy to cover our sins!  The former Pastor of my home church always marvels at God (the Father) running to meet His son.  How marvelous it is to see God dancing at the party!

By contrast, Satan is always seeking to shame and strip us.  Clothing the naked is an act of mercy.  Clothing ourselves is an act of self-respect, signifying our acceptance of God’s mercy and His making us into a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).

 . . . she is clothed in fine linen and purple. . . .

She is clothed in strength and dignity;

She can laugh at the days to come.

Proverbs 31:22 & 25

 

BOW is my first experience in blogging, and my writing has undergone an evolution since I started. I use If I Knew Then What I Know Now to think aloud about my Christian walk. When you read it, my hope is that WE (the BOW community & friends) then discuss how to apply God's word into our everyday lives in a practical manner. As Christian lay-theologians, we'll talk about our world, and how we can be in it but not of it. So whatever your thoughts are about what you read, PLEASE share.
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  1. pelicanflies

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