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The Joy of Restoration - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
April 9, 2022 8:00 pm

The Joy of Restoration - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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April 9, 2022 8:00 pm

“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten..."

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The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder Lacerre Bradley, Jr. O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise! The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace! This is Lacerre Bradley, Jr. inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. Oh, once I had a glorious view of my redeeming Lord.

He said, I'll be a God to you, and I believed his word. But now I have a deeper stroke than all my groanings are. My God has made a plate, for Sookie's gone, I know not where. Oh, what immortal joys I felt on that celestial day, when my hard heart began to melt, my love dissolved away. But my complaint is bitter now, for all my joys are gone. I stray back then, I know not how the light from me withdraw. Once I rejoiced the sage to me, to me they were most dear. I then could stoop to wash their feet and shed a joyful tear. But now I meet them as the rest, and with them joyless stay.

My conversation, spiritless, for else I've naught to say. I forgo in duty's way, but can't perceive him there. Then backward on the road I stray, but cannot find him there. On the left hand where he doth work, among the wicked crew.

And on the right I find him not among the favored few. What shall I do, shall I lie down and sink in deep despair? Will he forever wear a frown or hear my feeble prayer? No, he will put his strength in me, he knows the way I stroll.

And when I try sufficiently, I shall come forth as gold. I want to thank each of you who have helped to support this broadcast and keep it on the air through all these years. Maybe you're one who has planned to help with the support and just never got to it. And we do have special need at this time.

We're upgrading our website and all this is with considerable expense. So if you can help us, we'll certainly be thankful for it. Our address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. And you can make a donation by going to our website at BaptistBibleHour.org. Are not thy mercies large and free? May not a sinner trust in thee? My crimes are great, but don't surpass the power and glory of thy grace. Great God, thy nature hath no bound, so let thy pardoning love be found. Should sudden vengeance seize my breath, I must pronounce thee just in death. And if my soul were sent to hell, my righteous law proves it well.

O depth of mercy, can it be that mercy still reserved for me? O can my God his wrath forbear, and be the chief of sinners there. We sometimes look back at the past and think about things that we wish we could change, and yet the past is gone. And the Apostle Paul advises us to forget those things that are behind, things that cannot be changed.

Certainly there are some experiences from which we can draw lessons and learn not to make some of the mistakes the second time. But while we know that lost years cannot literally be restored, there are areas of life where God can bring about restoration. My subject, the joy of restoration, and the text is Joel chapter 2, verse 25. And I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten, the canker worm and the caterpillar and the pauper worm, my great army, which I sent among you. First of all, we want to think about the day of trouble. It was a day of trouble. It was a day of judgment. When God sent these destroying insects in among his people, and it brought total devastation.

It was judgment from the Lord. In the fourth verse of Joel chapter 1, verse 4, it says that which the pauper worm hath left, hath the locust eaten. And that which the locust hath left, hath the canker worm eaten, and that which the canker worm hath left, the caterpillar eaten. Verse 6, For a nation is come upon my land, strong and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek-teeth of a great lion. He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree. He hath made it clean bare, and cast it away. The branches thereof are made white.

It says even the bark on the trees have been removed. And so it's a dismal time that people were in an agricultural society. They would plant the crop. They would anticipate the harvest.

Their life depended on it. But when destruction came, it was empty and barren. So verse 12 says, The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languishes. The palm-granite tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even the trees of the field are withered, because joy is withered away from the sons of men. So because of this devastation, joy was withered.

It was a dark, difficult time. And certainly in our life, it seems that trials sometimes come just one after another, until joy is withered. Now we're told to rejoice evermore. And Philippians 4 says, Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say rejoice.

So God would have us rejoice even in the midst of our trials. That's easier said than done, isn't it? You can read what the scripture says about it. Say, I know that's God's word. I agree with it.

That's what I ought to do. But when the trials are severe and they're long-lasting, very difficult to rejoice. It doesn't mean that you rejoice because you like the difficulty.

It wouldn't be an affliction if it was easy to bear. But you rejoice in the Lord because you know that He is sovereign. He's in control. He's your support. He's your strength.

He is your comforter. Trials, troubles take many forms. Certainly we've seen much suffering in our country and around the world from the coronavirus. So much uncertainty about it. Even as the health experts feel that they are making progress and that they have a cure, still a lot of unanswered questions. And some of them will admit that periodically, that they're just things they don't know. So the uncertainty of it all gives an added sense of pain and trouble. And then each of us in our own lives have difficulties that we encounter. Troubles that come our way.

Things that may cause us briefly to have anxiety, as Brother David has talked about that here this morning. And yet we know that to worry, to be stressed, to be full of anxiety is displeasing to God. And so, indeed, when there are judgments that come, as judgment did come upon these people in this time, the way is dark. You can ask me sometimes, do you feel like God is judging America?

I can't make a dogmatic statement about what God is doing, but I think God has every right to judge America when you think about the direction it's been heading now for quite some time. And certainly what we view on the horizon is not very hopeful. And so it's a dark, dismal time in many ways, as we think about a day of trouble. And then there are spiritual struggles, spiritual struggles.

Psalm 69, reading in the first verse. Save me, O God, for the waters are come into my soul. Now it's one thing when you're passing through deep waters, but it's even worse when you have to say waters have come in under my soul. Lord, I feel like I'm drowning.

The troubles are so great. The doubts, the fears that plague me are so difficult. I feel like I'm drowning in my trouble. I sink in deep mire where there is no standing. It's like I'm on quicksand. I try to put my foot on something solid and I sink a little lower. I sink in deep mire where there is no standing. I'm coming to deep waters where the floods overflow me. I'm weary of my crying.

My throat is dried. My eyes fail while I wait for my God. Have you ever been there? You might say, well, Brother Bradley, I've had my troubles, but I don't think I've ever been quite where this man was. Well, I'm not suggesting that you try to find a deep hole so that you can get into the mire clay.

But in the event you ever get there, you'll know that you're not the first one to arrive at that spot. The Psalmist was there a long time ago. How difficult are those days when you feel to be sinking in the mire? You're asking God to help you, to strengthen you, to lift you up.

And it seems that no progress is being made. Your struggle continues. You know, Jeremiah spoke of his prayer being shut out.

I cry and shout and he shutteth out my prayer. In those times, you think of brighter days. You say, oh, Lord, why can't it be like it was some years back? There were days when I felt I was closer to you than what I feel at the moment.

Days where I felt that your blessings were enriching my life on a daily basis. At the moment, I feel like I'm in the deep waters. I'm sinking in the mire.

I'm making no progress. William Cooper said in one of his hymns, Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord? Where is the soul refreshing view of Jesus and his word? What peaceful hours I once enjoyed. How sweet their memories still, but they have left an aching void the world can never fill.

William Cooper was one who had a lot of struggles. He wrote to him also, God moves in a mysterious way. His wonders to perform. He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm. But he was constantly pointing people to the Lord for the help that they needed. Psalm 102, verse one describes spiritual struggle. Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I'm in trouble.

Incline thine ear unto me. Somebody might say, well, what an unusual prayer. Why would God hide his face?

The fact is that he does. He sometimes hides his face because there's sin in our life. He sometimes hides his face so that we just don't take things for granted. We know how desperately we need him and we need to examine our own hearts to see that if our prayer life is what it ought to be. But whatever the purpose of the hiding of his face, the Psalmist felt like this is what he was experiencing. So he prayed, Lord, hide not that face from me when I'm in trouble. Incline thine ear unto me in the day when I call.

Answer me speedily. Have you ever felt when you prayed that you needed to say, Lord, please answer this in a hurry? And if you dared say that, then you felt a little guilty. Am I being presumptuous to ask the Lord to hear me speedily? Well, when you find in the Bible that one prayed in that manner, you say, well, maybe it's all right. Maybe when my case is so desperate, when my need is so great, I call and I pray, Lord, hear me speedily, for my days are consumed like smoke and my bones are burned as an hearth. You can see that his condition is desperate. One day after another, just like smoke, it's here for a moment and soon it's gone.

It's empty. And my bones are as though they were burned as an hearth. His condition was so acute that he describes even physical sufferings that are a contributing part of what he's experiencing. And then we have to think about sin itself, not just a variety of spiritual struggles that we might encounter, but the struggle that comes as a result of sin. Psalm 31, verse 9. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble. Mine eye is consumed with grief.

Yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief and my years with sighing. My strength faileth because of my iniquity and my bones are consumed. Once again, such vivid language describing in depth and detail what difficulty the psalmist was enduring.

I believe that this was written along with Psalm 51 after David's great sin. And he says in verse 12, I am forgotten as a dead man out of mine. I am like a broken vessel.

Certainly sin can bring a person to that point. I have a broken vessel. Lord, my life is spent with grief.

It's something that won't go away. I mourn and grieve over this perpetually. But in verse 22, it said, For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes. Because of the grief that I experienced, because of the magnitude of my sin, I said, What's the use?

I'm cut off. God won't hear me. God won't forgive me. But he then says, I was hasty when I said that. Nevertheless, thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. Even though he may initially have felt God will not hear me, my sin is too great. He still cried. He still sought the Lord. And the good news is that when he cried, God heard him. So if you come into a dark place where you feel like there's no need to pray, God will not hear me.

Don't make that assumption. Call on him. Call on him and he will hear. So the next thing we see in this passage in the book of Joel, after we see the devastation that was experienced, that is the need to seek the Lord. Chapter one, verse 19, Joel 1 19. Oh, Lord, to thee will I cry for the fire devoured the pasture to the wilderness and the flame had burned all the trees of the field. Here again, that's a vivid description of the devastation they had experienced. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee, for the rivers of waters are dried up and the fire had devoured the pasture of the wilderness. Even the beasts of the field are suffering the consequences of this devastating experience. The waters are dried up. They have no place to go to drink.

They have nothing to eat because the vegetation has been destroyed. And what does it say? Oh, Lord, to thee will I cry. As he described, the great trouble gives in detail what they have experienced. He's still seeking God. Now, in chapter two, we see that it must be not only a matter of calling on the Lord, seeking God, but a matter of repentance. Joel chapter two, beginning with verse 12. Therefore, also now sayeth the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart. All right, if you're going to call on the Lord, it's got to be more than lip service.

It can't just be a casual thing. He says, turn with all your heart and with fasting and with weeping and with mourning and rend your heart and not your garments. In olden days, it was customary when one wanted to display the deep grief they felt about a situation and particularly about feeling the guilt of sin.

They rent their garments. But God says this has got to be more than that. I'm telling you, don't rent your garments or in your heart. Come before me with a heart that is truly broken because of your failure, because of your sin. And turn unto the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness and repenteth him of the evil.

Isn't that encouraging? You turn to the Lord your God because he is gracious. He's full of grace and his mercy endures forever. He's slow to anger and he's of great kindness. Jesus heals the broken hearted. Oh, how sweet that sounds to me. Once beneath my sin he's martyred, grown and bled to set me free.

By his suffering, death and merits, it's compassion, blood and pain. Broken hearts and wounded spirits are at once made whole again. Broken by the laws of thunder to the cross... Well, as I listened to this broadcast and we were going through the section that we entitled The Day of Trouble, I thought, I hope I don't lose some of our listeners at this point. The subject is the joy of restoration, and there's certainly not much joy included in the first part of this message. I was hoping to find encouragement, and it's discouraging to hear what is here described.

But just keep in mind, obviously at this point you've stayed with us, even if you had some question in mind. Just remember that the struggles that we talked about were from the pins of those that were inspired in writing Old Testament scripture. So it's something we need to face, and the fact is we can't have the joy of restoration until we recognize there is a need for restoration.

So that part had to be looked at first. I encourage you to be sure to listen next week as we bring the second part of this message, and you'll find more of the joy included in it. So until we greet you at the same time next week, may the Lord richly bless you all. Broken by the laws of thunder, to the cross for refuge plea, O'er his conscience sorrows ponder, Jesus strives that he let thee. O'er land wide to heal and cherish, Jesus still to Israel gives, Nor shall e'er a sinner perish, Who in his deed and name believes. The Baptist Bible Hour has come to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. Address all mail to The Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. That's The Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. In his righteousness confiding, Shelter safe beneath his wing, Here they find a sure abiding, And a confident mercy sting. Seek my soul, now of the healing, But in Jesus' holy blood, He beneath the Spirit's dealing, Stands the great high priest with God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-09 02:02:44 / 2023-05-09 02:10:58 / 8

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