Saturday before the Third Sunday of Advent

2 Chronicles 30:13-27, Nehemiah 8:7-12, Jeremiah 15:16

The passage in Nehemiah has some depth. First, the people (the Jewish people) were so ignorant of their own history and holy scriptures, that both had to be explained to them. As they ed what their had instructed them on how to live, many began to weep (mourn) as they understood that because of their failures, they were separated from . However, the Levites comforted the people, leading them to understand that this was not a time to grieve, but a time for joy. ’s forbearing at work.

We see same that same in 2 Chronicles. The people were celebrating Passover wrongly (they were ritually unclean). Yet, instead of condem, there was . In this case, the was after some affliction, but one can infer that the affliction was a result of not doing things as required. Yet, instead of being cast out, they celebrate with others, praig . So much joy poured out into doubling the celebration!

The experience of this kind of joy can only come through the awareness of just how much gives. No matter how much may pour out, the passages makes it clear, their ts turned toward first before they received and/or were healed. ed them first, yet, ’s glory, , and healing doesn’t show up until they turn to with repentant ts.

Note also that while the people’s ts may have been turned to , there was still a need for intercession by others. This is important to grasp. We all need others to intercede for us.

From our , the Jewish people were just minding their own buess, where they were. They were trying within their contest to fit into the world around them. In f, much of their problem was indeed that they were ful in fitting into the world around them, so much so, that they wandered away from .

1) Do you struggle with fitting into the world around you? Do you struggle fitting into what you think is the church or Christian world?

2) Why is understanding one’s starting point essential to feeling joy?

3) What is the similarity between joy and happiness? What’s the difference?

KD) What makes you the most joy-filled? How does that make you think about ?

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.