Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When The Joy Has Withered Away -




When The Joy Has Withered Away



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

[STUDY NOTE:  Seeing the hand of God in a passage requires looking for the logic it is speaking. This helps identify what is context and what the central message is. Not the context is unimportant. Context helps us see the nature of the times or incidents and, therefore, enables us to grasp parallels in our day.] 

What Can We Learn from Joel 1:9-15?

We enter this passage with a previous call to mourn and grieve based on having counted the losses that have occurred.  

1.    Having Learned to Mourn The Ministers are Called to Take Action.

These verses describe a time when the joy of mankind has, or should have, withered away and prescribes a response. The writing speaks directly to the leaders of worship/the religious leaders in the community. Indeed this informative situation reveals us some of God's expectations of those who minister as leaders among us and it demonstrates a roll for persons who have responsibility before God above that of societal leaders of the geopolitical area and the citizens and inhabitants living in the land. 

2.    When Worship Loses Its Joy.

 (Note this is about joy, not just uplifting or invigorating church programs/meetings.)

The following are the symptoms of such times:

  • There is no fruit

    The very ground in which we work has dried up. The seed sown has been destroyed (the parable of the sower tells us multiple ways this can happen). The new wine has dried up. The oil of anointing fails. 

  • Nothing to offer in worship

    When there is no fruit, no new wine, no anointing, the whole of life and existence -- the reason for working and living -- is gone. We feel it. Despair becomes the mark of our outlook or worldview.

  • No sacrifices to be brought

    Worship requires that the people bring something with them to the service/convocation. This is a given in the order of God and in worship as a community of God's children.

  • No service of presenting these offering and sacrifices to God on behalf of the people is possible

    When the losses have resulted in nothing to present in praise and worship of the Lord, worship cannot happen. This is a radical thought to most of us. So no matter what skills the ministers of worship possess, if the people bring nothing, technically no worship can occur. When we have nothing to bring to the worship time except despair, there is no joy from which our worship can grow.

  • And so the peoples joy is dried up

    Despair means our joy has dried up. If our lives are not bearing fruit, if there is nothing to harvest, or we fail to harvest what is available, we have no joy. We have nothing to bring in community to worship before the Lord.

Remember we are talking about the children of God, so we are not talking about presenting ourselves to God as a gift or sacrifice. We did that when we became his child. Worship, after that, means bring to Him the fruit of our lives and labor. This is a very different way of conceiving worship from what our customs have led us to believe is worship.

3.   When There is No Fruit, No Harvest, No New Wine, and No Oil of Anointing, What is a Minister to Do?;

This list is pretty simple:
  • weep
  • announce a fast
  • call the people together for a solemn meeting
  • bring the people and the elders together to cry out to the Lord

But note -- God here prescribes one of the duties and requirements of those who would minister worship and in religious leadership among us. This requirement has not, from what I can see, been rescinded by grace.

4.    Why? Because The Day of the Lord is Near and It Will Come Like the Destruction of the Almighty 

This end of times application will spill over into our learning before we leave this book, but note the Day of Lord often means the day when his judgment will fall upon us currently, while on this earth, as well  -- the day His children will suffer from what is wrong in and among them. We forget this important work of God through out church history and so we do not admit it is still happening today. And yet,"These things happened to them as examples for us."

"The day of the Lord is near and it will come like the destruction of the Almighty." Words written about and to His children, whom also we are.




Mines have been planted in the church so that those who walk in Christ's way get destroyed or maimed.

Would be visitors fear to come because the danger level is too high.

And yet my ministers and elders [NOT THOSE WHO MERELY NAME THEMSELVES ELDERS OR MINISTERS, i.e., THE ONES WHO SOW THE MINES], the ministers and elders who remain mine, refuse to act. 

They excuse the presence of the mines and the presence of the enemies-of-truth that plant them. 

Their wisdom fails them. Their courage breaks down and my sheep are destroyed for want of a shepherd to act and to protect them. 


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