Never Worthy

The second chapter of Joel is a powerful passage, full of promises of hope, peace and prosperity. The "Day of the LORD" as described in Joel 2 is certainly a great hope to live for.

Ever read Joel 3? Yeah, neither had I, until last night.
"Woe to the nation who draws God's people away from Him! Beat your plowshares into swords and get ready for battle; this is not gonna go down well for you. Who do you think you are to take things that belong to God and walk away with them as if you own them? Who dares to come between the King and His bride?"
That's totally paraphrased. But you get the idea. Who are we in the story? Who do you identify with?

Israel, right?

I love how we all immediately praise Him for His promises of restoration. But what if, contrary to popular opinion, we're the ones He's warning? We welcome complacent consumerism and shun the lost around us. We yearn for Jesus if the pay-off is right! As long as we don't have to give anything up... As long as it doesn't get too uncomfortable...

Dear God, am I the stumbling block keeping the lost (*1 גּוי) from coming to repentance? Woe to me!

If I had words to even scratch the surface of what I'm feeling -- this weight of guilt for the wickedness that is my life. For this wretched sin of apathy. If I had words... Then maybe you'd get stuck here with me. Hey, misery loves company. Honestly, I haven't been able to shake this heaviness for weeks. The Joel 3 passage is just the beginning. Consider a handful of others from my reading this week alone:
  • "All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags." - Is 64.6
  • "No one... stirs himself up to take hold of You." - Is 64.7
  • "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." - Matthew 19.21
  • "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned." - John 15.6
  • "How can we who died to sin still live in it?" Romans 6.2
  • "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life." Romans 6.22
  • "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." James 2.24
  • The list goes on... I'm a worthless sinner!

And He is relentlessly jealous for me.

A friend of mine made this comment in reference to John Mark McMillan's song, How He Loves. He said, "Why does He love us?" Why? What could possibly have drawn the pure, holy God of the universe to me, a poor, disgusting, bloody lump of flesh laying abandoned in a field -- an enemy of Yahweh by birth; an adulteress to Him by deed (Ezekiel 16)? Wow.

Ok, now do you wanna get lost in this with me?

Isaiah observed that no one stirs up their souls to lay hold of their First Love. That may be true, but by His grace, His Spirit in me is yearning jealously for the Father (James 4.5), and even my brokenness drives me to worship. Times like these when I see all my best efforts as a hideous next to His righteousness, I simultaneously see His steadfast love as even more immense -- even more glorious -- than ever. Oh that I might decrease so He might increase!


*1 - Joel 3 alternates between two words for “nation,” גּוי (goy), and עם (ahm). Although linguistically the two words are almost synonymous, in context the difference is clear: MY nation (ahm) versus all other nations (goy). This is a matter of possession. Identity even. One nation set apart from the rest.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe 'seasons' such as these are meant for you to draw nearer to Him. Its obviously working :) Sometimes I think God does things in spite of what we want or believe or are doing!