Old Testament Lesson
After much darkness and pain, today, in this passage, we see the sun shine again. We read the pain of Lamentations. We read the prophets saying that destruction was coming. We read bad news after bad news after bad news. Today, we read some good. We see that the rain stops, the wounds are healed, and that life will spring forth from death. The people get to return home! The people get to go back to promised Land! God has not forgotten them. Just as in the Exodus, He is taking His people back to where they need to be. The night is over, and the sun shines again.
Remember, even if it is night in your life right now, God has not forgotten you. The sun will shine again. This too shall pass. God is not done with you yet. The will be joy and peace and comfort that is coming in the morning. Hold on, hold fast, help is on the way. The people returned to the Promised Land. God is still at work. Just as He is still at work in our lives.
New Testament Lesson
1 Corinthians 16:1-9
We see Paul giving very important instructions here about something that the church has always done. Taking up the collection! But in this passage, as it is now, the "collection" or "offering" or whatever you prefer to call it, is important. In many ways it is our response to the graciousness of God. He is a God that has given us so much, and in turn, He wants us to give back. Give our time, give our talents, give our gifts, and give our service. In short, give from all that we have.
And yes, that does mean money, but that is not all. That is just part. What God wants from us is something very simple. He wants all of us. He wants all that we are. And, when we give Him all that we are, He gives us something. He give us life more abundant, life grander than we could ever imagine. Today, give yourself away. And, in the giving away of yourself, you find more life than you could ever think possible.
We see Matthew quoting from the Old Testament this passage, showing that God's plan was always at work. He was making things ready for the coming of His son, for that was His ultimate plan and His ultimate means of salvation for His people. God's plan is always more that you and I can see. It is deeper and it is wider, and it is more than our minds can even understand.
That is why is so important for us to trust. We don't always know what He is doing. We don't always know His plan or see His path. We just have to trust and walk down the road that He has shown us. If we follow the light that He gives us, we will be where we need to be. He is always at work, doing more than we can see. He was making things right for the coming of His Son. The people just had to trust. Just like now, sometimes, we simply have to trust Him when we don't see what He is doing. Thankfully He always sees what He is doing.