Saturday, March 24, 2012


The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
(Joel 2:24-27, ESV)

I’ve been thinking often lately about that “third R” I wrote about several weeks ago - Restoration.  As we approach the season of Easter and the end of Lent, I think the word takes on a whole new meaning for me and that is probably why God has pressed it into my mind so often and so heavily of late.  The passage from Joel 2 comes readily to mind.  I think, perhaps, it is misunderstood (as is so much the old prophets wrote), because it seems less about the things that will be restored and more about the Restorer who is showing His Children His heart.  Rather than a promise of something temporal, it is a reflection of the Promise.  And the fact that the editors of the English Standard Version chose to represent Joel’s words as poetry brings this all back together for me.

We know, from historical fact, that Israel never regained their former glory.  If you look at the size of the empire under Solomon that much is blatantly obvious.  We know only a remnant went back to Jerusalem and the surrounding areas and then only for a brief time.  we know the State of Israel today is far different than any iteration it has been through since they came back out of Egypt thousands of years ago.  Yet there is this promise, right here, that speaks of restoration.  And I believe that God’s words are never hollow, so there has to be something else going on here - something far bigger than grain fields eaten by insects.

I write this post a mere two weeks ahead of the most solemn memorials Christendom knows … Good Friday.  It is, as my friend Cathy put it when I was doing my Lenten study over a year ago, especially somber because we are preparing for the death of a close friend and family member.  But though we must travel to the Cross once again this year, though many will observe the Lenten season with great reflection, we know we can look ahead to that swift sunrise on Easter.  We have assurance that our memorial, while somber, is not a celebration of the end.  God has promised a restoration and He does so with the exclamation point that is the Resurrection of Christ.  And that, friends, is what I believe God had in mind when He gave Joel this message.  He has always been and continues to be the God of Great Restoration.

The Crooked Path takes so many turns that, at times, it becomes dizzying to me.  The very happenings of life itself can be overwhelming and I will feel great loss again and again.  But the promise - the assurance - of Restoration should be a center of Great Hope for me.  My Father keeps telling me, “I have it all in hand … there will be Restoration of all you consider to be lost.  I signed that Promise with the Blood of My Son.”

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