Your Latter Days will be Greater than your Former!
Let’s begin by looking at Psalms 92:14-16 which says, “Those who are planted in the House of the Lord will flourish in the courts of our God. 15 They will bring forth fruit in old age, they will be flourishing and invigorated 16 to show that the Lord is upright, just…” (ONM unless otherwise noted)
WHO is this Psalmist speaking about?
Those planted in the House of the Lord.
Are you planted in the House of the Lord?
WHAT does he say about those who are planted?
They will flourish in the courts of God, bring forth fruit and be invigorated.
Flourishing means abundant, and invigorated means strength but, what is the fruit that is to come forth?
Fruit is what is seen above the surface, however, the fruit always has roots which grow below the surface.
What does this fruit look like?
Are you baring fruit? Are you baring much fruit?
If not, when are you expecting it to come?
WHEN you are in old age?
Old age doesn’t necessarily represent the number of years you have lived but rather how mature your relationship is with the master of the House.
WHY is it important to plant in the House of the Lord and to bring forth fruit?
To show that the Lord is upright and just!
HOW does that happen?
A great example is found in the story of Job (1:1-3). He was a man who was blessed with the rewards of righteousness, early on in his life. He was firmly planted.
However, in verses 8 – 11 the devil spoke to God and made an accusation against Job, saying that he only served Him because of his blessed life.
The Lord knew better so He granted Satan the power to touch all that Job had except his very life.
Verses 1:13-19 describes the losses Job suffered from Satan’s attack. First, the Sabeans (another tribe: given to war) stole Jobs oxen and donkeys and killed the men who kept them. Then, the sheep and those tending to them were consumed with fire that fell from heaven. And, during the same time period, Jobs 7 sons and 3 daughters were killed in a house that was destroyed by a strong wind from the wilderness.
When Job heard the news he stood up, tore his cloak, shaved his head, fell down upon the ground and worshipped, and said, “Naked I came out of my mother’s womb and naked will I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (20 – 21)
Through all of that Job did not sin or lay folly to God. (22)
How many of us would respond to such a devastating, heart breaking, and soul wrenching report in the same manner in which Job did?
Later, Satan went back to God (2:1-6) and argued the point that any man would act differently if his life was on the line. So, in order to show the faithfulness of Job, God allowed Satan to do anything but take his life.
(7) Satan went straight away to strike Job with sore boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet which left him in immense pain.
His wife, rather than to comfort him, told him to curse God and die. (9) What was Jobs response? (10) He told her that her words were foolish. He stated, “Will we accept good at the hand of God and will we not accept bad?”(ONM)
This sounds like he had some pretty strong roots in the House of God.
Job had 3 friends who decided to come and comfort him. For 7 days, none of them spoke a word (2:13) but rather sat quietly in his presence.
Finally, Job broke the silence, in chapter 3, by moaning and groaning in anguish. After which his friend Elifaz spoke up saying things like: (4:7) “Remember, please, whoever perished, being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed…?”
Job responded: (6:10) “I have not denied the Holy One.” and (6:24) “Teach me and I shall hold my tongue, and cause me to understand in what I have erred.”
Bildad, another friend, spoke up and said things like: (8:6) “if you were pure and upright surely now He would awake for you and make the habitation of your righteousness prosperous.”
Job responded to his friend with such words as: ((9:22) “This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroys the perfect and the wicked.”
Then Job cried out to God (10:7), “You know that I am not wicked….”(38:2)
Zofar, the other friend also offered such words as: (11:13) “…Do not let wickedness dwell in your tents!”
Job replied: (13:18) “Though He slay me, yet I shall trust in Him…”
These 4 men went three rounds in much the same way. But, in chapter 31 Job expresses himself in a way that could be called a closing argument….read it.
After which, Elihu, who had been listening to all of them, spoke up. He had kept quiet because he was younger than the rest. He thought that wisdom was found among the older men and he had hoped to have learn from them.
However, after listening, he expressed his anger with Job because he had justified himself rather than God ((32:2). He also expressed anger with Jobs friends because they had found no answer for Job, but rather condemned him. (32:3)
Elihu basically tore each of them apart (33 – 37) because of the way they handled things and then stated (37:13) that God allows things for correction, for His land, or for loving kindness.
Though he was younger in years, he was more mature or more fruitful than his elders. (What was his fruit?)
When he finished, (38:2) the LORD addressed Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? 18 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, 20 That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof? 21 Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?
22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, 23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
24 By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?
25 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; 26 To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; 27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew? 29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
36 Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?
37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, 38 When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?
When God was finished, Job responded (40:4) “Behold, I am vile. What will I answer You? I will lay my hand upon my mouth.”
(42:2) “I know that You can do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from You.
(6) I have heard of You by the listening of the ear but now my eye sees You. (6) Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job realized that he had not known everything about God but rather only knew Him in part. So, he repented.
Then, the Lord spoke directly to the three friends: (42:7) “…My wrath is kindled against you because you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has.”
(42:8) He ordered them to go to Job with a burnt offering and afterwards He would accept the prayer that Job would pray for them.
(42:9) After each of them did what was assigned, the Lord also accepted Job.
When Job prayed for his friends God turned the fortune of Job. Also, He gave him twice as much as he had before. (42:10)
His latter days were greater than his former. What was the fruit?
Possessions of all kinds
*Favor with God
What was the root?
Intimate relationship with the master of the House.
Job acknowledged that though he knew truth he didn’t know the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So God helped him.
And though Job demonstrated strength with the truth that he had heard with his ears he began to bear more bountiful fruit because he was able to see the ways of his master. He became deeply rooted.
Are you planted in the House of the Lord?
Are your roots strong enough to keep you grounded during the storms of life?
Are you bearing fruit? Are you aged enough to bear much fruit or are you still maturing? (Hopefully, we will all say that we continue to age.)
Let your latter days be greater than your former!!!