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South Fellowship Church

About Grace Hunter

Grace is married, has 4 children one of whom is now in heaven. She enjoys reading, crocheting, puzzles, baking and spending time with her granddaughter. She and her husband have attended South Fellowship Church since 2014. She and her husband Jeff enjoy singing in the choir, working in the nursery and helping with the South Food Bank.

Spiritual Milk and Spiritual Meat

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? I Corinthians 3:1-4 NIV

This summer two new grandchildren were added to the Hunter family. In the past few weeks I have spent some time observing how infants eat. They can only digest milk, not solid food. Infants need adult supervision and help in every part of the eating process, including being held at the correct angle for swallowing and being burped to relieve gas. As babies grow and mature, they can start to eat soft foods, then more solid food, next finger foods, and finally pieces of meat and raw vegetables. The process is a gradual one, over several years, but for most children, it is a steady progression to independent eating of solid food.

Paul uses the analogy of a baby progressing from drinking milk to eating meat when he wrote to the Corinthian church. He is disappointed that many in the Corinthian church, though several years old in their Christian faith, are not maturing in their faith. He says they still need spiritual milk, not spiritual meat. And they are not feeding themselves. So what is spiritual milk? What is spiritual meat?

The writer of Hebrews says,

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. Hebrews 5:12-6:2. NIV

This passage implies that an immature Christian hasn’t yet internalized Spiritual truth. He or she – doesn’t understand much of Christ dying for the sins of the world – still needing to repent of sin and putting more faith in God. A mature Christian (one who can eat spiritual meat), has trained himself to distinguish good from evil – because a mature Christian spends regular time in God’s presence, in God’s word and in prayer – feeding on spiritual meat.

In Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, he gave Timothy instructions on how to teach others:

And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him, he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, II Timothy 2:24-25. NIV

Paul often gave the churches with whom he had ministered, specific instructions on spiritual practices for them, and for each of us, to mature – to move beyond spiritual milk to spiritual meat. In each of these passages listed below, Paul encourages us to pray, to intercede for others, to study scripture, to meditate on God’s word, to sing, to worship, to help and teach others. This week, look at one or more of the following passages, and ask yourself and God, “what areas do I need to grow in? What type of ‘spiritual meat’ could I focus on this week, this month, this Fall?”

Colossians 3:1-17, 23, 4:2-6; Ephesians 4:2-6; I Timothy 2:1-4; Philippians 2:2-4; II Thessalonians 2:16-17; Romans 12; Philemon 4-7.

Spiritual Milk and Spiritual Meat2022-09-24T10:12:44-06:00

Not Foolish, Not Weak, But Sacrificial Love

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Isaiah 29:13-14

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” I Corinthians 1:18-19

Paul’s point in this passage is that God’s wisdom – God’s plan – to save the world through Jesus’ sacrifice made by dying on the cross for the sins of the world, was foolishness to unbelievers of the gentiles, and was unbelievable by Jewish Scholars. The Jewish teachers of the law were searching for and hoping for a triumphant king who would establish an earthly kingdom similar to King David’s. The Romans and Greeks believed anyone who was crucified was the most despised criminal and not able to save anyone. Paul says,

“but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength,” I Corinthians 1:23-25.

If you look at the crucifixion accounts in Matthew 27:39-44, Mark 15:29-32, and Luke 23:35-36 you will find that passersby (together with soldiers and Jewish priests) all taunted Jesus to come down off the cross and save himself, if he truly was the Messiah. Yet, Isaiah told us of the suffering servant:

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6.

Jesus’ ministry was one of healing – He healed lepers, the blind, the deaf, the disabled, the mentally ill, and the demon possessed. He taught and ministered to the ordinary people, to the ill, to prostitutes, to criminals, to Samaritans, and to tax collectors. When Jesus encountered the Jewish scholars, they spent their time questioning Jesus’ motives, his methodology, his genealogy, and his choice of disciples. His time on earth culminated in His sacrifice – dying on the cross,

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord,” I Corinthians 1:27-31, Jeremiah 9:24.

How has God used someone the world might consider foolish, weak, ill, or less fortunate in your life to teach you about how much God loves everyone and desires all to know, love and serve Him? Thank God today that He welcomes everyone – children, fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, the mentally ill, and every sort of sinner to follow him, to confess their need for a savior, and to give him their heart and be a part of the Kingdom of God.

Not Foolish, Not Weak, But Sacrificial Love2022-09-16T11:44:30-06:00

Grounded In Grace

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. (I Corinthians 1:1-4) NIV

Paul begins and ends every letter he wrote with this or a very similar phrase, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus.” (I Corinthians 1:3). Paul’s letters to Timothy include, “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (I Timothy 1:2). Why did Paul use these and similar phrases to begin and end all of his letters to churches and to individuals? What purpose does repetition accomplish?

Let’s look at another phrase repeated often in the Old Testament writings, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,” (Exodus 34:6). Moses is the first one to write these words, but David repeats them in the Psalms, Jonah quotes them back to God and they are in other places as well. Repetition of a thought or concept helps to cement that concept in our minds, hearts and souls. We often need this type of reminder.

Paul begins and ends his letters with the concept of grace – given to us by God, because it is extremely important that we remember daily, even hourly – the cost Jesus paid on the cross for our sins. God has extended grace to us – as believers – in Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Paul wants the church at Corinth to remember that they are grounded in grace as believers in Jesus as their Lord and savior. Before he says anything else to them, he sets the ground rules, he states the foundation of their faith, and then he goes on, “I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus,” (I Corinthians 1:4).

The beginning of the letter to the Corinthian church reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son we just studied last week. In that story, both sons are offered grace by a compassionate, loving, patient, forgiving and gracious father. The father in the parable is a picture of how God does the same for you and me.

How might you demonstrate grace to someone this week? Perhaps the next time you are in a conflict conversation, you might try beginning the conversation with extending grace to the other person. Pray about who you need to show grace to in your relationships.

Grounded In Grace2022-09-15T14:11:25-06:00

Join in Corporate Worship

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Ephesians 5:18-19 NIV

December 1984, I traveled with many young people I had known from my church youth group to Urbana Illinois for a college missions conference called “Urbana ‘84”. At that time Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, a college campus ministry, put this mission conference on every 3 years. Several famous Christian speakers including Billy Graham, Elizabeth Elliott and Luis Palau attended. We students listened to these inspirational speakers, visited the exhibit hall and had one on one conversations with representatives of many different mission organizations. The idea behind Urbana ’84 was to get the 18,000 college students who attended, fired up and involved in the various opportunities for spreading the gospel throughout the world.

I attended a state university, so this was a unique opportunity for me to spend a week among other fellow Christian college students. My mind was expanded to think of the various ways we can all be involved in missions.

For me, the greatest impact was in our corporate singing. Most of us would arrive 30 minutes early at the large arena (holding 17,000 people), just so we could ensure we could get a seat and so we could participate in the corporate worship. This conference was so big not everyone could fit in each session; (1000 people had to watch on TV in overflow rooms). The singing, the blending of harmonies, the a cappella voices of 17,000 people singing “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” is an experience I will never forget and probably will never experience again this side of heaven.

The corporate singing was the highlight of this conference for me. Something a bit intangible happens when we sing together. It can happen with 5 people, 20, 100 or 17,000. But when we worship and sing together, we, “Let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly as [we] teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as [we] sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in [our] hearts to God,” Colossians 3:16. As we experience God’s presence, we are involved in teaching and learning God’s truth together when we sing together.

I encourage you to join in corporate worship this Sunday. Don’t focus on hitting the correct note; instead, worship God together with others, declare His goodness, praise Him for what He has done, and express your faith in His ability to work in our lives in the future.

Join in Corporate Worship2022-08-13T15:06:46-06:00

Sabbath and Rest

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” Deuteronomy 5:12-15 NIV

I am challenged by this week’s topic – Sabbath and rest. I watched a video by Walter Brueggmann on keeping Sabbath. He would define keeping Sabbath as – setting aside one day a week in which we do not focus on productivity, where we stop “work”, where we rest, slow down, listen – so that we can receive from God. I find this difficult to do (as I imagine many of you do too), and I was challenged to see if it might be possible for me to change my schedule, my habits, and strive to do this for myself.

I found many passages in the Bible that talk about the benefits we can enjoy if we set aside a Sabbath day.

” ‘If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’ The mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:13-14)

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:3-4) NIV

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2) NIV

These passages speak of delighting ourselves in God, in his word, in keeping a day of rest. The Jewish people were told to keep Sabbath as a sign to the world that they were God’s people: it was a defiant act; it declared to the world that God would provide; the Jewish nation did not need to work 7 days a week. We have the same God; He will provide for us as well.

Read Isaiah 55. Look at what God asks us to do and what He promises to do for us. Use this chapter to read, slow down, listen and receive what God is saying to you about how you keep Sabbath.

Sabbath and Rest2022-07-30T11:24:19-06:00

Party, Celebrate, Feast, Play

“‘The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present an offering made to the LORD by fire. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’” The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: `When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect, together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil–an offering made to the LORD by fire, a pleasing aroma–and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.’” Leviticus 23:5-14 NIV

On the fourteenth day of the first month the LORD’s Passover is to be held. On the fifteenth day of this month there is to be a festival; for seven days eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. Numbers 28:16-18 NIV

Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Abib he brought you out of Egypt by night. Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name. Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste–so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt. Roast it and eat it at the place the LORD your God will choose. Then in the morning return to your tents. For six days eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day hold an assembly to the LORD your God and do no work. Deuteronomy 16:1-5 NIV

Party, celebrate, play, be festive – what sorts of scenes do you imagine? Do you think of good food, friends, family, neighbors, games, children, holidays, long conversations, respite from normal work, vacations? Our bodies are designed for rhythms. We need a regular rhythm of work, rest, play and sleep.

The first Thanksgiving celebrated in America by former Europeans was a harvest festival celebrated with Wampanoag people in the fall of 1621. It took place over several days and they wanted to give thanks to God for a successful harvest and for surviving a difficult first year in New England. They shared meals, played games and celebrated God’s provision of food for them for the coming winter.

The Israelites had a similar festival – it had two names – Passover or First Fruits. This annual celebration was designed to ensure that the Israelites would remember that God provides. First, God provided deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Second, God provided for the needs of the nation of Israel – daily food, clothing that didn’t wear out, and everything else they needed while in the desert for 40 years. Third, God provided them with the promised land – the food, the home, the future it would provide for the nation of Israel for hundreds of years. Passover or First Fruits was celebrated in the first month of the Hebrew calendar, it would be in March or April in our calendar. Sometimes it was called First Fruits because it took place when the very first of the barley harvest was gathered. The Nation of Israel was told to bring the very first stalks of their harvest – the first of God’s provision of food for the coming year – as an offering to God. This was a recognition, an acknowledgement, a thanksgiving to God for that provision of a harvest, for that provision of food for the coming year.

The Israelites – just like the Pilgrims – celebrated God’s provision – with a party, a celebration, a holiday from work, a time to gather with friends, family and neighbors. It was a time to play together, talk together, give thanks together, and talk of the future.

Does your family have an annual celebration, festival, party, or gathering? Do you play certain games, eat special foods, or have traditions that you do every year? Take some time this summer, to reflect, remember, and thank God for His provision for your family, for the special foods that are a part of our summer parties.

Party, Celebrate, Feast, Play2022-07-24T15:26:11-06:00

Comfort Food

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NIV

Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law; Psalm 94:12 NIV

Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me. Psalm 86:17 NIV

Comfort. This is a lovely word. It conjures visions of mashed potatoes slathered with butter, a huge vanilla ice cream cone, a soft, cozy down comforter, an incredibly soft pillow, or the embrace of a loved one when I feel sad or am mourning. What comforts you? Take a moment and picture that thing, person, or experience.

David composed Psalm 23, and he is uniquely qualified to use these beautiful words to describe how God comforts us. David was a shepherd as a boy and as a teenager. Later he was Israel’s anointed king. David describes God as our personal shepherd. In John 10:11 Jesus says, [He is] “the good shepherd.” He goes on to say, “[He] lays down [His] life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15).

David describes walking through the valley of death, not being left there, but walking through it – with his shepherd, his God, by his side. Then he tells us that the shepherd’s tools are a comfort to him – David, the sheep. David tells us the shepherd has a rod and a staff with him. My NIV study Bible says that the rod was used as an instrument of authority, for protection from predators and danger, for counting, guiding and rescuing the sheep. The staff was used for support, and for effectively bringing wandering sheep back into the fold. How are these tools a comfort?

1. The shepherd is WITH the sheep; sheep can’t be left alone; they must be under a shepherd’s care at all times or they can’t find food, protect themselves from danger, or find their way – as they tend to wander. God is WITH me.
2. The rod was used for discipline – to teach wayward sheep to come back, and to protect them – to keep robbers, and wild animals from carrying the sheep off for food. God CORRECTS and PROTECTS me.
3. The staff is there for support, to hold up, to help when the road is rocky, and it is a sign of authority. God SUPPORTS me, and has authority over me – HE is SOVEREIGN and in control.

Comfort. Remember what or what person represents a picture of comfort? Now, picture God as your comforter, as your protector, as your teacher, as your shepherd, as your parent – holding you close, guiding you, correcting you, holding you up, and walking with you. God is all of this and more.

Comfort Food2022-07-20T17:14:39-06:00

On the Road

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NIV

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Luke 13:22 NIV

Summer is the season for travel for many of us. When our 4 children were young, we often went on cross country trips in the summertime. Early on, we homeschooled while traveling. The time in the car – on the road – going to our “destination” was not wasted time. Our children did school work, they listened to music, to “Adventures in Odyssey ” tapes, and later to books on CD. My daughter and I often crocheted, or read books, newspapers, or created things. Our boys would make fantastic configurations out of Legos, played games or slept. Of course, we also looked out the windows, enjoyed the scenery of our beautiful country.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 invites us to talk about our God, how He works, and how we can relate to Him in our everyday lives. Traveling together has given us unique and extended time with our family to engage in these kinds of conversations. Many times, the topic of an “Adventure in Odyssey” tape would spark spiritual conversations among our children, and my husband and I took advantage of these unique teaching opportunities.

Jesus traveled all year round. His ministry was one that took Him all over Galilee, Judea, Samaria and even to Tyre, Sidon and to the area known as the Decapolis. Of course, He traveled to and from Jerusalem several times too. A quick look at the book of Luke reveals that Jesus also took advantage of the unique opportunities travel gave Him. John 4 tells of Jesus stopping to rest awhile on a journey and having a “chance” conversation with a Samaritan woman. This “perhaps unexpected” rest stop resulted in a rich time of teaching for this woman and her village. Luke 8:11 and Luke 13:22 tell us Jesus traveled to many villages and taught there. As He traveled, He often stopped along the way to heal people – a widow’s son (Luke 7:11), 10 men with leprosy (Luke 17:11-19), and a blind beggar (Luke 18:35).

How can you take advantage of your travel time opportunities? Here are a few ideas. Keep a journal while on vacation, and thank God for his creation and the unique time with family and friends. Spend time in prayer while going from one place to the next. Engage in conversations with those around you or with those you meet. Look for opportunities to share the God you know and love with others while you travel.

On the Road2022-07-16T15:03:14-06:00

WATCH YOUR STEP

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant Psalm 25:9-10 NIV

Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth. Psalm 26:2-3 NIV

“Watch your step; choose your path carefully; look where you are going”. These are different ways of saying: “make wise choices in how, where, and when you choose to walk”. Imagine a young child who is still unsteady on their feet; the adult with the child may say similar things to guide the young one, to keep the child’s attention on where he or she puts his or her next step.

Our Heavenly Father gives us similar advice. Read Psalm 25 and Psalm 26. As you read, look for words that pertain to walking, sitting, paths to take, and who does the teaching and leading. Pay attention to the verbs in these two psalms and who is described as doing these actions. Did you see that we all have choices to make? Sometimes David describes how he has walked, or sometimes he is asking God to do something for him.

“Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” (Psalm 26:2-3) David asked God to look at his innermost character, his motivations, his thoughts, and to determine if David was making right, wise, and godly choices. David’s request reveals he was humble, that he admitted he needed God’s guidance and advice on how, where and when to walk.

Just like a young child, we all can choose to listen to the wise advice given us, or we can run headlong down a bumpy, dangerous, and ill advised route. In these two psalms, I see David asking for God’s guidance, seeking God’s truth, keeping his eyes on God’s faithfulness and love shown to David in his past, in order to enable David to make wise choices in how to walk in the future.

We all make choices in how we walk everyday. We can choose to obey or disobey God: we can choose to walk by our faith in God, or to walk by sight only. We can choose our path by following God’s truth, or by listening to false teaching that others profess. We can choose to walk in righteousness or in wickedness. Take some time today, respond to these psalms in prayer of confession. Admit before God: choices you have made – paths you have taken – that might have been unwise or bad.

WATCH YOUR STEP2022-07-09T16:29:38-06:00

Order Out Of Chaos

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:1-3 NIV

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, `I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.” Jonah 2:1-9 NIV

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters,” (Genesis 1:2). In Hebrew, the rhyming phrase is “tohu v vohu”. In the context, “tohu” implies chaos or uninhabitable, and “vohu” empty or desolate. These words paint quite a picture of a chaotic, desolate, empty wilderness – the earth BEFORE God filled it with plants, animals and humans.

The word “vohu” is used in 2 other places (Jeremiah 4:23, & Isaiah 34:11) to describe the coming destruction of Israel by the Babylonians, and the destruction of the earth in the end times. The word “tohu” is used many times in the Old Testament, usually describing chaos, futility or confusion. Genesis 1 & 2 describe creation – exactly how God fills the earth and the skies and the waters with plants, with animals, and with the first two humans. The Bible is unique in its telling of creation because God brings order out of chaos, creativity out of desolation – filling the emptiness. It is God who made the earth livable and inhabitable by all living things (Isaiah 45:11-12, & 18).

(Psalm 69:1-3) says, “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.”

What sort of chaos are you experiencing today? How does God bring order into our world today?

Jonah, in the middle of a fish, after running from God said, “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry,” (Jonah 2:2). God entered into Jonah’s chaos and answered his prayer. I encourage you to invite God into your chaos. Ask him to order your world, to fill it with life-giving activities, people, and plans. Look at the rest of Psalm 69, or Genesis 49:15-21, or read the book of Ruth to see how God entered into the chaos of David’s, Joseph’s, Ruth’s and Naomi’s lives. God wants to be invited into the chaos of your life too, and He will bring order and remember, “it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails,” (Proverbs 21:19).

Order Out Of Chaos2022-07-02T09:49:56-06:00
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