Joel 3

Worse to come. This chapter says to use the lesson of the locust plague for worse days to come. It speaks of the Jews being scattered, shattered. The lord is in control, there will be justice. Gods judgement will come on all the nations.

I’m praying today for my wife who is down, some of my children who suffer mental illness, and for my church where I’m struggling to find a positive role.

It’s easy for my heart to get numb when things such as this go on and on. But God speaks to the heart more than anything.

Rend my heart

 

Joel 2

I should have known. The last chapter set a scene of urgent practical disaster that leaves you throwing yourself on God. Where does he go?

Cosmic, takes us out of the moment and deeper into it. Breaks the paradigm with talk of spiritual reckoning more dreadful, time scales more blurry, blessing: abundant, physical and spiritual, beyond borders and beyond time, beyond expectation.

God!  This is urgent isn’t it?

First the narrative hits retells the locust attack from the last chapter, from a perspective as heavenly judgement. Described like cinema, the shadow of a flying army darkening the sky, an army of judgement sweeping in unstoppably, it’s intense writing And god is at the helm. This dreadful day is gods. It ends with the question “who can endure it?”. Reminds me of Jesus teaching of judgement coming as a shock, or the rich fool who counts his wealth, goes to bed happy and dies. Who can endure?

Revelation 9 returns to this way of describing a locust plague as an army of gods judgement.

Then a reminder that this is not gods preference for us. He wants to love. It gets back to hearts. Don’t just wail and tear your clothes in grief as in chapter 1, rend your hearts. Change.

Everything is spiritual. Time is spiritual. there is still enough of it to know gods mercy. That is more urgent than anything.

Cue the locust horde sent into the sea, the land blessed, abundant in raid, plentiful crops. I’m not close to doing the language justice, it’s beautifully written.

But it doesn’t stop at practical blessing, a good harvest, God will pour out his spirit. The bit about the effect of the spirit, women prophesying, young men seeing visions and old men dreaming, is quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost. It speaks of a far greater judgement and a far greater blessing of which this experience is just a hint.

 

 

 

 

Joel 1

A poem about a disaster, waves of locusts destroying all the crops.  I get the impression is an urgent warning, they are imminent. On the northern border, and have destroyed wild pastures there.

Chapter 1 runs through something like the stages of grief, from the disbelief (has anything like this ever happened?) initial shock (wake up, wake up! It’ll all be gone) realising the implications, grieving.

All done with wonderful vivid language: forget figs, the trunks of the fig trees are white because the bark is gone. New wine is being snatched from the lips of drunkards sleeping off the old, cattle and sheep wandering about aimlessly with no crops, olive oil failed, trees withered… like our joy.

And the cry of anguish and the wail to God. The people, the flocks even the panting wild animals, all run out of options but to cry to God.

Got it. I see people there in the news, it happens to friends, and I myself have felt at times I’m there, even though my objective circumstances were not as bad. The place of utter seemingly inevitable disaster, absolutely zero resources other than a voice to cry to God.

Next chapter!