FROM PASTOR TIM JOHNSON:
It’s good to be back in the Minor Prophets and the book of Joel is certainly challenging. If you have not already, I encourage you to read through this very short, three chapter book. You’ll have a much better idea of the exegetical, theological and practical issues that it offers.
As we moved through Joel 1 fairly quickly (at least in my view) I want to reinforce a couple of key ideas.
First, the idea of repentance is to encourage people to turn around 180 degrees from the direction in which they are going; usually, it is away from God. The prophets urgently call us to turn around and come back to God.
God says to the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 33:11: “Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel’”?
God wants intentional sinners to turn around and return to Him because to walk away from God is to fin eternal death. We need to repent where we knowingly walk away from God, and then turn around, turn around and seek God.
Speaking of death, Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 promotes our presence at funerals instead of at gatherings where this frivolity, or other kinds of superficial gladness. God is not interested in us living joyless, morbid lives. But it is interesting that in verse 3 we learn that “sadness of face” makes the heart glad. Why?
I think that as we reflect on our own mortality at funerals, we become grateful for our own lives even more. We realize that life is serious and does not last forever. We gain perspective, and redouble our efforts to live lives that glorify God instead of merely satisfying our desire for temporary, futile pursuits.
We are called to find joy in the Lord, because only that joy lasts. Only that joy truly satisfies. Only that joy draws others to God whereas fleeting, meaningless moments of mirth vanish without any effort to exalt the Lord.
These are just some things to chew on as we proceed through this challenging and relevant book. May we all be richly blessed by our time in it together for the next few weeks.
Joining you in a sober joy that seeks the Lord’s glory,
We are all, by God’s grace,
Rescued by Christ,