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Summary: Theme: Renewal for different seasons of life, initiated from above, personalized for you, continual as needed, in just the right proportions.

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I. INTRODUCTION

A. 1997 Movie “As Good As It Gets” – staring Helen Hunt & Jack Nicholson

New York City. Melvin, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer, finds his life turned upside down when Carol, the only waitress who will tolerate him, must leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast. To a group of depressed psychiatric patients, he asks “What if this is as good as it gets?”

B. Life Is Such A Mess - God’s People Asking Hard Questions – Heathen’s Asking Hard Questions

1. Is God really there?

2. Is this as good as it gets

3. Man, there must be something more

C. Our Text Is Framed Side To Side With That Question “Must Be Something More”

1. (v. 19) “I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations”

2. (v. 27) “My people shall never be put to shame”

D. (verses 18-27) – I’m Going To Show Them My Stuff

1. (vs. 19) Something that satisfies – no longer embarrassed or ashamed

2. (vs. 20) Foul oppressors defeated – (sickness, cancer, abuse, terrorism)

3. (vs. 23) Former & latter rains – speaks of growth (will come back to this)

4. (vs. 24) Threshing floors & vats – speaks of harvest & processing harvest

a. sowing – reaping – processing (winnowing & squeezing)

b. threshing floor – wheat beaten & thrown in air (Luke 22: 32 "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat)

c. vat – what’s been pressed/squeezed – Gethsemane stone

5. (vs. 25) Everything enemy has stolen, will be restored

E. (verses 26-27) – My People Shall Never Be Put To Shame”

F. Read Key Verse – Joel 2:23

Be glad then, you children of Zion,

And rejoice in the LORD your God;

For He has given you the former rain faithfully,

And He will cause the rain to come down for you —

The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month.

II. (Verse 2:23) FORMER RAIN & LATTER RAIN

A. Planting & Harvest Seasons In Israel Were Just The Opposite Of Ours

1. First rains fell in our Fall (October)

a. this was just before planting season

b. these rains softened the ground

2. Last rains fell in our Spring (1st month = our March)

a. this was just prior to harvest

b. these rains ripened the harvest

B. Not Just A Physical Picture – But A Spiritual Picture (“Oh God, let it rain!)

1. “Rain” - initiated from heaven

a. true spirituality – not earthly origins, but heaven’s origins

b. cults, centers around a man, etc – that’s earthly

c. man-made religion – man centered, man generated

d. I cannot generated a God moment for you – hocus pocus - or whip it up for you – not my job – I can’t do it

e. this is God’s work, not ours

2. “For you” – personalize it – “for me” – God is for you – not against you

3. “Former & latter” – different type of rain for different seasons of journey

a. sometimes we need softening up – new seed

- we’re rigid, hardened, set in our ways

- old wineskins

- teachers – tilling the ground – preparing for seed

b. sometimes we need ripening up – nurture what’s growing (don’t stop w/ just fruit of spirit – ripen it)

4. As “He has given”… “He will cause…”

a. continual – not just one time – repetitious – seasonal


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