Friday, September 30, 2011

Joel, a call to repentance

The prophet Joel lived in a time when Judah was prosperous and influential....sometime in in the 8th century b.c.  The prosperity had caused Judah to believe that they were in control of their own destiny.  they began to wander away from the God of their youth; the God who had blessed them and brought them up out Egypt.  The result of their wandering was that the same sin that was in the camp of the Israelites that kept them in the wilderness those 40 years became pervasive in Jerusalem and all of Judah.  The golden calves became objects of worship, the Asherah appeared again on the hillsides.  The wealthy began to abuse the poor.  The rich bought justice by buying the judges.  The stranger (alien) in their communities was no longer welcome.  Hospitality was reserved for those that they knew and loved.  The tenets that had marked them as the people of God were being forgotten and the covenant that they had with Jehovah was being ignored.  Joel came to call them to repentance and to remind them that one day The Day of the Lord would be upon them and on that day judgment would be served and those found outside of God's will would rue the day of their birth.

The Day of the Lord is often used in the scripture to speak of end times.....the stuff of Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation.  Joel speaks of a day when God will grow weary of sin, of a day when God will grow tired of the people ignoring those that he has sent to call them back into right relationship.  The Day of the Lord is to be feared by those who have become enamored of sin and who live their lives in the shadow of the power of money and licentiousness, but the Day of the Lord will be a glorious time for those who have but their trust in the Almighty One, El Shaddai, Emmanuel!

In that day, all things will be restored.  The poor will have much.  The sick will be well.  The outcast will become an insider.  The widow, the orphan will be loved with an extravagant love and those who have served God will have his Spirit poured out upon them. They will dream dreams and prophesy.  They will have visions.  It will be blood and fire and smoke for those caught in their sins; it will be honor and glory for those caught in their service to the KING.

We should consider who it is that we serve.  Who is it that we honor with our lives?  The Day of the Lord will come for us one day; will we see it come and fear for our immortal souls or will we rejoice that our Lord and King has come to redeem us and to take us to our home on high prepared for us by God himself.  Will there be words of condemnation or "enter, though good and faithful servant."

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