Finish Well

As I travel on the journey of life, God keeps using Sunday’s sermons to touch my heart.

Here’s a link to last Sunday’s sermon:

Pastor Ed Allen is starting a series from I and II Kings.

It has not escaped me that this tied in beautifully with some verses that had struck me a few days before the sermon:

Jeremiah 31:3-4, 16-20 (New International Version):

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again
and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.
Again you will take up your tambourines
and go out to dance with the joyful….”

This is what the Lord says:
“Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord.
“They will return from the land of the enemy.
So there is hope for your future,” declares the Lord.
“Your children will return to their own land.

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning:
‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf,
and I have been disciplined.
Restore me, and I will return,
because you are the Lord my God.
After I strayed, I repented;
after I came to understand,
I beat my breast.
I was ashamed and humiliated
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
Is not Ephraim my dear son
the child in whom I delight?
Though I often speak against him,
I still remember him.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I have great compassion for him.” declares the Lord.

With these verses, I was struck by how free God is to forgive and restore us.  We can blow it; we can reject Him completely.  But still He considers us His dear child; still He delights in us.

When Pastor Ed explained the overview of the sermon series in the books of Kings, he mentioned that these books, besides showing the downfall of Israel, also show how ready God is to forgive.  All He asks is–brokenness.  When Israel was broken and repentant, God freely forgave and restored them to His great love.

I thought that was a beautiful reference to the Jeremiah 31 passage–where Israel was actually broken and repentant, and God is freely restoring them, with no reproaches.

Brokenness–Not much fun.  But once we’ve gotten there, God can restore.

We talk about “broken homes.”  Well, if a marriage and family are broken, perhaps that puts them all the more in a position for God to restore.

God heals broken lives.  Can’t he also heal broken marriages?

Back to the sermon, the main point of the sermon was about Solomon.  He started out so well, and had so many things going for him.  But he did not finish well.

It’s rather ironic.  The man who penned the words, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23), was also the one of whom it was said, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been” (I Kings 11: 4).

We were reminded that the Christian life is an ongoing race.  It’s not time to sit back and rest on our laurels.  Wise Solomon was not wise in letting his wives turn him from God.

Good thoughts!

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