The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Lent Devotional: Jonah 2

Jonah 2 (click here)
For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.

…yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. (Jonah 2:3 and 6b)

Reflection
The pagan sailors cast Jonah into the sea…but they don’t get credit for it! Jonah acknowledges God’s sovereignty in his situation…the Lord is the one who cast him into the sea…even the wind and waves belong to the Lord.

God is sovereign.

Even over our difficulties, dangers, and near death experiences. This truth makes us struggle. If God is sovereign, then why do we experience suffering at all? Why does he sometimes hurl us into the sea?

There are no easy answers to questions such as these, but there is good news, namely, that because God is sovereign over the wind and waves, we know that those forces never win! Because God is sovereign over death itself, we know that death doesn’t win!

We cannot always see his purposes, but we can trust that his purposes are good. Because the Lord was sovereign over casting Jonah into the sea, he could also sovereignly save him from the sea! God brought Jonah’s life up from the pit!

God saved Jonah from the sea and, even more importantly, from his sinful self! Jonah learned that salvation belongs to the Lord, but such a lesson can only be learned when one is in need of saving.

Jesus’ disciples learned this same thing upon a stormy sea. Jesus, like Jonah, was sleeping through the storm, but for a completely different reason. Jesus wasn’t sleeping because he was running from God, but because he was God. He had nothing to fear for he was in complete control… the disciples could only learn this truth amidst the storm.

To know Jesus as the sovereign Lord over the wind and waves, we must first be cast into the storm… only then and there can we experience his sovereign salvation.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Psalm 12

Psalm 12 (click here)
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man. (Psalm 12:6-8)

Reflection
Do we believe the promises of God? Do we really?

I find myself questioning all the time… wrestling with… fighting the fight of faith… fighting to believe! This has been a fight since the garden. Our first parents were deceived when Satan was able to get them to doubt the Word of God… the enemies tactics have not changed.

He chips away at our confidence in God’s Word by making all our surrounding circumstances appear to contradict what God has said. This leads to our questioning… and questioning is not a bad thing in and of itself. Fighting to believe is a good thing and is encouraged all over the Bible.

“Fight the good fight of the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:12

Our questioning and wrestling is not a bad thing when we are asking the Lord to fight with us for faith. Our questioning and wrestling become problematic when we join hands with the enemy to fight against the Lord and against faith.

In Psalm 12, the psalmist fights by reminding himself of the nature of the Lord’s Word… the purity of his promises. It is only in knowing that this God and his promises are fighting for him that he can face the wicked prowling on every side.

Fight the fight of faith, but not against the Lord…not against the only one who can sustain your faith. No. Fight, empowered by the Lord, fight to trust in his Word so that we may defeat unbelief by the power he provides!

“Now to HIM who is able TO KEEP YOU from stumbling and TO PRESENT YOU blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Psalm 10

Psalm 10 (click here)
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. (Psalm 10:12-13 and 17-18)

Reflection
God will set all wrongs to rights. That is a promise.

And, this is actually the very promise we hold onto amidst our being wronged. It is the very promise that enables us to not act out of anger and seek revenge. We don’t have to bring a person to justice…God has promised to do so (this doesn’t mean people should not experience the natural/legal consequences of their sin, but simply that it is not up to us to guarantee this happens via personal vendettas).

So often it can feel like God has forgotten us as we suffer. So often it seems like the wicked get away with everything and simply prosper. I think about ISIS, and the violence they are currently unleashing toward Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. The Psalmist felt deep the injustice of things like this deep in his soul. He wanted to know why the wicked get away with their wickedness.

Yet, as he grapples with this difficulty, he brings to mind God’s character and his promises. God will do justice, he will end all terror, he will end ISIS, he will set all wrongs to rights.

We can let go of our anger, our rage, and our desire for revenge… knowing that God has the best in store… true justice. This enables us to do what Jesus called us to do, namely, pray for our enemies, and do good to those who persecute us.

Justice is good…and we will all receive it. ISIS will receive it…and so will I. God’s justice will either be poured out upon us in our sin, or it has been poured out upon our substitute…Jesus. Either way…God will not be unjust! He will bring about a day in which the men who are of the earth may strike terror no more.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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