Friday, May 23, 2014

Locusts In The Past Or Lush Crops In The Future?

Joel 2:18 Then the LORD became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people. 19  In response to his people the LORD said: I am sending you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a mockery among the nations. 20  I will remove the northern army far from you, and drive it into a parched and desolate land, its front into the eastern sea, and its rear into the western sea; its stench and foul smell will rise up. Surely he has done great things! 21  Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things! 22  Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield. 23  O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the LORD your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. 24  The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25  I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you. 26  You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 27  You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame.

600 years before Jesus the prophet of God speaks a word.
Joel, which is a combination of two Hebrew “God” words meaning Yahweh is God, speaks in poetic language of things that are to come in the future. These things will not come soon, because the conflict between Babylon and Egypt will prove to be disastrous for Judah. Joel urges the people to hold onto their faith in God, who will see them through the tough times. The promise is of a restoration of the years that the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25). This is a celebration of the presence of God “in the midst” of the people.

I want to invite us to learn from Israel, and look for the presence of God amongst us. All too easily we spend our time complaining about the years “eaten by locusts”, instead of seeing that which God has already restored to us! We look over our shoulders and complain about the past, instead of looking to the future that God has prepared for us. In many ways our hurts of the past prevent us from trusting God with our future.

Choose today to trust God with your future.

O God, our help in ages past,
  Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
  And our eternal home
Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Sixth  Sunday of Easter
Chosen by God
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Rueben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 173.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.

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