Your Hometown News Source

Pastor's Corner

Dependence Day

July in known for Independence Day- a celebration of the birth of this nation. It’s an odd concept we champion in America: independence. Recently, I have been reading the Book of Ezra. This account is a celebration too, of what we might call Dependence Day.

The record of Ezra documents the return of the Israelites when the time of Exile in Babylon ended. The nation had refused to acknowledge its dependence on God and His generosity, and they lost everything they had. After an entire lifetime, God acted on His prior promise, and the People of God were finally returning home! I can only imagine how powerful and encouraging this event must have been for those who lived it, or those who trace their personal genealogy to this group. How amazing it is to see God shift the world to care for those who rely upon Him!

I have a friend who recently set down roots and made some financial commitments. Then they lost their job. It was scary. Anyone who has unexpectedly lost employment knows how the panic tries to set in. This is a lot like the Israelites in Exile: God said He would take care of us, so what now? The sky is falling! We did the Christian thing: we prayed. My friend applied for several new jobs. And waited. And applied again. And waited again. Meanwhile, the situation got bleaker and bleaker.

As time went on, fear and frustration try to grow. The Israelites spent an entire generation praying, waiting, and pleading for help. It must have been suffocating, seeing the collapse of security and hope every day. Finally, God came through. A new ruler not only released the People to return home but offered to pay for the rebuilding efforts out of the royal treasury! Blessing on top of blessing!

My friend didn’t need a change in kings or political agenda, just a little help getting a job. When hope seemed almost gone, they finally received a job offer. And then another. And then another- all within a week, after months of nothing! God is still the Master of blessings on top of blessings. Sure, a job offer for one person is on a different scale than the return of a nation from exile, but that is not the point. The character of God is.

One of the greatest benefits of scripture is that it gives us God’s track-record. We have, in one volume, thousands of years’ worth of history testifying to the dependability of God. He sees. He cares. He acts for the good of those who acknowledge their dependance upon Him. We ought not let time discourage us. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes decades, but God is faithful. He is just as faithful to one person, as He is for whole nations. That is encouraging! God rescues His people. He did it for the Israelites when they turned to Him. He did it for my friend, who turned to Him. He will do it for you, as you turn to Him, and He can do it for even our nation, if we would turn to Him! Enjoy your Independence Day plans this July, but also take the opportunity to unite with the People of God in the country to call out and proclaim our Dependence as well. Who knows what God might do for our nation then?

Pastor Evan Elwell

Pomeroy Church of the Nazarene