The Beautiful Work of Restoration
In 2006, Steve Wynn, an art collector and real estate developer from Las Vegas, put his elbow through an expensive Picasso he owned, while showing it to friends. According to NPR, the painting was scheduled to be sold within days of the damage for $139 million to his friend Steve Cohen. A restorer said the painting would only be worth $85 million after restoration, but that didn’t stop Steve Cohen from buying it for $155 million, topping his original offer by $16 million.
Maybe you’re scratching your head like the rest of the art world. Why would someone pay more for a damaged piece? Because apparently, Cohen knew what God also knows:
The WORK OF RESTORATION is considered a work of art all by itself.
In other words, when something (or someone) is restored, the value actually increases. Think about Peter’s story of restoration. He denied the Lord Jesus three times after adamantly declaring to Him and everyone around that he would never do such a thing. I think what is so relatable about Peter’s story is how he wept bitterly after realizing his failure.
I’ve been there.
I’m sure he thought he was too far gone to ever be used by God again. And then Jesus did something beautiful. After revealing Himself to Peter and a few others on the shore after His resurrection, Jesus said,
“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” (John 21:15-17).
For the same number of times Peter had denied Him, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” And like a brush stroke of restoration on a damaged canvas, Jesus revealed Peter’s value.
We find a similar illustration in Ezra in the rebuilding of the temple. The Bible says the old men who had seen the first temple (that had been destroyed) wept bitterly when the new foundation was laid while the younger men shouted and rejoiced. Why did the older men cry? Because when God restores what has been broken, lost, or stolen, it reveals value.
And the same is true of you and me — we were all once lost, broken, and separated from God (some of us multiple times). But our God is a great Restorer. And whereas the enemy has made us feel like there’s no way God could ever use or want us again, the opposite is actually true.
BECAUSE you’ve been restored, your value is exponential in God’s eyes!
I pray just as Jesus revealed to Peter the great value and calling he had on his life, you too realize today your great worth to the kingdom of God.
Through The Bible Devotions
1 Kings 6:7 7In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.
Imagine the precision that had to be used to have the stones perfectly fit when they arrived at the temple site! Three-dimensional exactness had to be obtained at the quarry, for no pounding of any iron tool was to be heard at the site. Each block was custom made for an exact location to fit with the blocks beside and below.
Peter refers to believers as living stones (1 Peter 2:4-5). What kind of parallel can we see here? Jesus is the builder of the eternal temple of God, as the author of Hebrews declared (Hebrews 3:3-4). He must shape us to perfectly fit into the place God has for us and that includes fitting in with those around us. Each of us has a calling and a place in the temple. But what does this noiseless activity represent?
The pounding and shaping, the noisy activity, should go on outside the temple site. When we gather to worship, it is not the time to hash out our differences. There we quietly behold His glory or sing His praises. There, our focus is not on our fit with the stone next to us but the wonder of our Savior. O come let us adore Him. Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
The hammering and shaping should go on in the quarry. One on one with the Lord, we should allow ourselves to be shaped. The places we do not fit with the other living stones must be chiseled away. That noisy and often painful activity goes on in the quarry with Jesus so that we do not disturb the focus of others as we gather to worship corporately. Are you letting Him remove from you the protrusions in your life that keep you from fitting perfectly with the rest of the building?
Take time alone with God to let Him make some reductions in you so that you fit with the other living stones.
Streams in the Desert – June 13
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. (John 14:27)
Two painters each painted a picture to illustrate his conception of rest. The first chose for his scene a still, lone lake among the far-off mountains.
The second threw on his canvas a thundering waterfall, with a fragile birch tree bending over the foam; and at the fork of the branch, almost wet with the cataract’s spray, sat a robin on its nest.
The first was only stagnation; the last was rest.
Christ’s life outwardly was one of the most troubled lives that ever lived: tempest and tumult, tumult and tempest, the waves breaking over it all the time until the worn body was laid in the grave. But the inner life was a sea of glass. The great calm was always there.
At any moment you might have gone to Him and found rest. And even when the human bloodhounds were dogging Him in the streets of Jerusalem, He turned to His disciples and offered them, as a last legacy, “My peace.”
Rest is not a hallowed feeling that comes over us in church; it is the repose of a heart set deep in God.
My peace I give in times of deepest grief,
Imparting calm and trust and My relief.
My peace I give when prayer seems lost, unheard;
Know that My promises are ever in My Word.
My peace I give when thou art left alone—
The nightingale at night has sweetest tone.
My peace I give in time of utter loss,
The way of glory leads right to the cross.
The restoration and conversion of the Jews
By Charles Spurgeon
‘Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.’ Ezekiel 37:5–
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 11:1–12
Israel is to have a spiritual restoration or a conversion. Both the text and the context teach this. The promise is that they shall renounce their idols, and, behold, they have already done so. ‘Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols’ (Ezekiel 37:23). Whatever faults the Jew may have besides, he certainly has no idolatry. ‘The Lord thy God is one God,’ is a truth far better conceived by the Jew than by any other man on earth except the Christian. Weaned for ever from the worship of all images, of whatever sort, the Jewish nation has now become infatuated with traditions or duped by philosophy. She is to have, however, instead of these delusions, a spiritual religion: she is to love her God. ‘They shall be my people, and I will be their God’ (verse 23). The unseen but omnipotent Jehovah is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth by his ancient people; they are to come before him in his own appointed way, accepting the Mediator whom their sires rejected; coming into covenant relation with God, for so the context tells us—‘I will make a covenant of peace with them’ (verse 26), and Jesus is our peace, therefore we gather that Jehovah shall enter into the covenant of grace with them, that covenant of which Christ is the federal head, the substance, and the surety. They are to walk in God’s ordinances and statutes, and so exhibit the practical effects of being united to Christ who has given them peace. All these promises certainly imply that the people of Israel are to be converted to God, and that this conversion is to be permanent.
For meditation: Do you find time in your theology and prayers for the Jews? Join the apostle Paul and pray (Romans 10:1) that more and more Jewish people will accept the new covenant which God has made, that he will be their God and that they will be his people (Hebrews 8:8,10).