Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sometimes it takes locusts

The Word for today: Joel 1:1- 2:17

Mark this verse: Joel 2:13 "So rend your heart and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; He relents from doing harm."

Locusts are associated with judgement- BIBLICAL JUDGEMENT. The devastation of locust swarms are not something most people have experienced. Yet, as we read through the first chapterof Joel, the account of the destruction strikes a cord with most of us.

We know these emotions and we're familiar with these descriptions of calamity. Wasted, ruined, whithered, dried up and failed describe the landscape after the locusts have passed through. Mourning, shame and despair describe the landscape of the suffering soul. In 1:12, Joel explains that, "joy has withered away."

Ever had locusts into your life? What did they look like? Health problems, losses from natural disaster, fire, theft, prodigal children, broken relationships?

I thought so- me too.

So we whisper the question, deep in our souls, "Is God punishing me?"

God uses His prophet to deliver a reality check. Joel gives a sermon about reconciliation with a very powerful object lesson. There is no doubt, all the Israelites know it- God's not going to put up with their idolatry any longer. God's releases a little taste of the "wages of their sin" for one reason, He wants them back. His fierce love does whatever is necessary to have them come back and sometimes it takes locusts.

Sometimes I wish I had a bearded prophet to deliver my reality check.

But God has not left us alone in our day. We have the Holy Spirit and the Church. Jesus has provided everything we need for life and godliness. In the middle of our personal locust swarm, we may know for sure that it's because we have a sin to deal with or that we are under God's watchful eye in a refining fire. Sometimes though, we just don't know.

In all of these cases, we rely on the goodness of God and blood of Jesus to cover our sin. God gives all things a good purpose- our "turning to Him with all our hearts."

Repentance is beautiful.

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