Theme: God’s Promise of Eternal Joy
This week’s lessons show us that although things happen that take away our joy, still we can turn to God for healing and joy’s restoration.
Scripture: Psalm 126:1-6
Don’t give up. Labor is hard because this is a hard and sinful world. But your difficult labor and tears, particularly the tears, are noticed by God himself. The Greeks had the idea that God could not be touched by any human passions on the grounds that, if he could, then we would have power over God to that extent, manipulating him by our distress. They called this unmovable quality in God apatheia, from which we get the word “apathy.” That may be acceptable philosophy, but it is not good theology. I know that we cannot manipulate God. God is entirely sovereign over all his thoughts and actions. But I also know that God is not untouched by the feelings of our infirmities. And I know that Jesus wept himself—at the tomb of Lazarus when confronted by the ultimate consequence of sin, which is death (John 11:35), and as he looked out over the great city of Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed because “you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:41-44).
Neither the Father nor the Son are unmoved by your sorrows. God knows what it is to weep. He knows your suffering. But he also knows that one day those tears will be wiped away, and they will be replaced by indescribable joy that will last forever.
That is one of the very last scenes of the Bible, from Revelation. John is writing, and he says,
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:1-4).
Pain here? Yes, but joy hereafter. And what the psalm teaches us is that you can be sure of it.
Discuss the difference between our God and the gods of the ancient Greeks.
What encouragement can we draw from Revelation 21:1-4?
Where does pursuing pleasure as a path to joy lead us? What in contrast is the right path?
Prayer: Ask God for strength to persevere for his glory in the difficult times.
Key Point: Neither the Father nor the Son are unmoved by your sorrows. God knows what it is to weep.
For Further Study: Is God calling you to go through an experience that seems more than you can bear? Download for free and listen to Philip Ryken’s message, “How Much Has He Done for You?” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)