Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Count Your Losses




“These things happened to them as examples for us. 
They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.”  
1 Corinthians 10:11 NLT

What Can We Learn from Joel 1:1-8?

[STUDY NOTE:  Prophecy has always been politically incorrect, though that phrase belongs to the present era. Political leaders often declared the prophets' messages incorrect - or perhaps more correctly, the advisers to the political heads of state declared these messages incorrect. They put a lot of energy into it. Equally often the educated classes and cultural leaders - the stars of the day - fought the prophets' messages and labeled them incompetent and ignorant. And, of course, many times the general population, seeing the changes in their lifestyles, thinking, beliefs, or customs that faithfulness brings, rejected the messages. To be fair, sometimes they first embraced the words and later rejected them when they did not produce quick, pleasant results.]

Three Important Lessons: 

 (all currently politically incorrect)

1.   Count Your Losses

God lists off a series of losses and disasters which have occurred in Joel's "present day". He doesn't say look at what happen in the past. He says look at your present day - what is going on around you. So don't look for the losses listed in this passage before you say this applies to us. When losses are God's means of calling needed change to our attention, they are losses relevant to today, losses growing out of our "today." They may fit patterns of the past, but they will not be the exact things that happened in the past. 

Christians remain the people of the great hope, but God's means of communication has always, and still does, include counting the losses. We, of all people, must be aware of both good and bad, gains and losses. To fail to do so is to put ourselves in harms way and to find ourselves the intended audience of fresh prophetic words.

2.   God Allows Losses To Get Our Attention

Don't let the naysayers tell you God's hand is not active in today's losses. He may not have given to us the task of announcing the losses as specific punishments on specific people or for specific failures to be faithful to God's revelation, but it is never correct to declare that God's hand is absent from anything on this earth. When culture, political leaders, social and religious leaders start insisting that God has nothing to do with a loss or disaster, that it is just a random act of nature, or it is a totally human action, etc., beware. By omission, commission, or the unfolding of the divine order nothing happens devoid of God. He Himself declares this truth from the beginning of his revelations until someday they come to an end. 

All losses, on some level, contain a call from God to pay attention.

3.   Our losses Are Calls To Listen To God 

Our losses are always a call to listen to God. To often, if we hear the call, we immediately start looking for what we need to do or stop doing. Duh, I know that. But, we don't practice listening - neither first, last, or in between. When the messages called losses come, we start by looking for what to do. But God's calls us to first examine the losses, list them, and then listen to God. From the listening may grow doing or waiting.  

Too often the true motivation of fallen humanity's  drive to "do" represents an attempt to remain in control. Because of this flaw listening to God and hearing his voice remain rare among God's people - despite the gift of the Holy Spirit to teach us and to lead us into all things. Since Adam the heart of the man and the heart of the woman, from birth until liberation by God, seeks to be the "doers" in hopes of hearing the "well done." But God calls us to listen, one hundred percent of the time, so that we can receive the "well done."


Remember the the call to count our losses rests uniquely upon the leaders among God's people, upon all who inhabit the Church - His new Israel, and upon those who abuse the wine of the Spirit preferring the old so wantonly that God quits giving the new. _______________________________________________________

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