Joel

***It was great to catch up with my good friends Joel & Terrill (and their lovely kids, and some friends) on the weekend. It was/is Terrill’s 30th, which is a pretty big & exciting time.
But that is not the Joel I wanted to write about today.
I had a new idea.
I thought one way that I could encourage myself as I do my own Bible reading & stuff, is to post some of my thoughts up here on the net. I’m not talking about any hardcore exegesis, just what reading a passage gets me thinking about.
And today I read the book of Joel.
Joel is a really interesting picture in two main parts.
On the first side is the prophecy of a coming locust plague. It’s an all-devouring plague, leaving nothing in it’s path.
I love the picture that Chapter 2 has, picturing the locust as a war horse, a chariot, an army, a well drilled soldier, and a thief. Their destruction is absolute when it comes.
At the same time, the reader abhors the locust, because of the destruction that they will bring, but at the same time, we can’t help but admire the little beggars. So disciplined, so powerful, yet so small.
Israel, is the counterbalance. They should have the same kind of power and coordination as the locust, but instead they have turned away from God and sit now under His judgement.
And yet, God doesn’t desert His people. V.12-13 are some of my favourites:
*Joel 2:12  “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster. *
As we find our way into the second half of the book, we see how God’s love and mercy only play themselves out when we understand the nature of God’s judgement. The promise of hope and glory stands out in stark contrast after the expectation of desolation.
Western society is becoming increasingly “spiritual,” yet I suspect that it is equally as insincere. We need to step back, look at ourselves and* “rend our hearts, not our garments.”* Where in my life do I need to strip off the pretense like a locust stripping wheat, and open up my heart to the Lord?
It’s certainly worth thinking about…

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