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‘Beginning of the End’

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Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2013 12:00 am

Fast, good or cheap — choose two. It's called the "unbending rule of construction." Someone ordering a project must choose only two of those options.

For example, if you want something built good and fast, it will not be cheap. If you desire something good and cheap, it will not happen quickly; and if you are desiring a project done fast and cheap, don't expect it to last.

As human beings, we are constantly trying to "have it all." In fact, our modern culture increasingly feels entitled to great comfort with very little discipline, perseverance or patience. No culture can long afford to ignore that truth.

This week in Chapter 16 of "The Story," we are continuing to unpack a rather sad pattern in the history of God's people in the Old Testament that acts as a living illustration of the above principle.

It had been more than 200 years since they rejected God's leadership and begged for a king "so they could be like all the other nations." The reality was that over a 208-year history before the fall of Israel and Judah, a total of 39 kings has ruled over them, but only five of those kings were what you could call "good kings." All the rest were either greedy or downright evil.

Sometimes the worst punishment we can receive it to get exactly what we ask for.

But in the middle of this challenging record of history, there is a foreshadowing pattern that points to hope at the end of a dark tunnel. A good king named Hezekiah will lead his people back to God with repentance and prayer.

It is also during this time that a prophet named Isaiah comes to God's people to point them toward the hope of a coming Messiah. In fact, Isaiah speaks so much about the coming Savior that some commentators even refer to the book of Isaiah as "The Fifth Gospel."

Having just finished the Christmas season, many have heard of Isaiah's description of the coming Christ as "the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

The final hope for God's people was not going to be found in judges, kings or even prophets, but in a personal Savior sent to this earth.

For those of us going through this overview of the Bible, these are the chapters that can sometimes feel somewhat tedious, but the wonderful thing about these treasured truths is that they make us all that much more hungry for the wonderful Upper Story hope through Jesus Christ.

To learn more about God's Upper Story plan to bring His love and forgiveness to us, please feel welcome to join "The Story" team. To find out more about "The Story," visit www.thestorylodi.com or one of these local churches: First Baptist Church, 267 N. Mills Ave., 209-334-1332, www.fbclodi.com; Ham Lane Church of Christ, 600 S. Ham Lane, 209-369-2817, hamlane@sbcglobal.net; Temple Baptist Church, 801 S. Lower Sacramento Road, 209-369-1948, www.tbclodi.com; Vinewood Community Church, 1900 W. Vine St., 209-379-1068, www.vinewoodchurch.com; Emanuel Lutheran Church, 1540 W. Lodi Ave., 209-334-2130, www.emanuellodi.com.

Pastor Perry Kallis leads Temple Baptist Church in Lodi.

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