Friday, September 4, 2015

Then you will kinow

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God,
    and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.  
Joel 2:25-27

A father chastises his son because of some wrong doing. At our house, we feared the belt. But it wasn't the belt that really made us cry, it was the speech following the belt. The hug and the encouragement to do better and the expression that we were loved, those are the words that made us really feel bad for our misbehavior. 

In the text from the Old Testament prophet Joel, Israel had gone through another low spot in their faithfulness to God. They acted as if they knew more than God about what was best for them. (Sound familiar?)  God's punishment had come, this time in the form of an army of locusts that had destroyed their crops. They have been punished and now God wants them to know he is still the Lord their God and never again will God's people be shamed in this way. 

A locust will attack the healthiest part of the stalk, where it comes out of the ground, usually eating a small hole in the stalk to drain the plant of everything that is healthy. In the same way, we allow those that we call our "little sins" to remain, causing the only minor damage to the soul. We fail to realize that everything that is healthy for the maintenance of our spiritual lives is drained from us and the little sins grow into disastrous consequences. That's what happened to Israel and led to their unfaithfulness. 

God loves and forgives, as we see in his willingness to restore the children of Israel. He is restoring their lost crops, they will have plenty of food and they will praise God. The very next couple of verses are additional words of prophecy from Joel, familiar words, which demonstrate how God desires to strengthen and restore us, too. 

28 “And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
  Joel 2:28-29


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