God’s Word Goes Forth: Come to the Lord in Prayer
Joel 2:1-17: Joel continues his description of the locust swarm as it covers the land of Israel, destroying crops and causing starvation. Using powerful battle imagery, he says that the invasion is a taste of the coming Judgment Day of the Lord. But he says that there is still time for the people to repent and return to God. The priests were to alarm the people with the near approach of the divine judgments.
Today's Scripture: Joel 2:13b
Come back to the LORD your God. He is kind and full of mercy; he is patient and keeps his promise; he is always ready to forgive and not punish.
1 Blow the trumpet; sound the alarm on Zion, God's sacred hill. Tremble, people of Judah! The day of the LORD is coming soon. 2 It will be a dark and gloomy day, a black and cloudy day. The great army of locusts advances like darkness spreading over the mountains. There has never been anything like it, and there never will be again. 3 Like fire they eat up the plants. In front of them the land is like the Garden of Eden, but behind them it is a barren desert. Nothing escapes them. 4 They look like horses; they run like war-horses. 5 As they leap on the tops of the mountains, they rattle like chariots; they crackle like dry grass on fire. They are lined up like a great army ready for battle. 6 As they approach, everyone is terrified; every face turns pale. 7 They attack like warriors; they climb the walls like soldiers. They all keep marching straight ahead and do not change direction 8 or get in each other's way. They swarm through defenses, and nothing can stop them. 9 They rush against the city; they run over the walls; they climb up the houses and go in through the windows like thieves. 10 The earth shakes as they advance; the sky trembles. The sun and the moon grow dark, and the stars no longer shine. 11 The LORD thunders commands to his army. The troops that obey him are many and mighty. How terrible is the day of the LORD! Who will survive it? 12 “But even now,” says the LORD, “repent sincerely and return to me with fasting and weeping and mourning. 13 Let your broken heart show your sorrow; tearing your clothes is not enough. ” Come back to the LORD your God. He is kind and full of mercy; he is patient and keeps his promise; he is always ready to forgive and not punish. 14 Perhaps the LORD your God will change his mind and bless you with abundant crops. Then you can offer him grain and wine. 15 Blow the trumpet on Mount Zion; give orders for a fast and call an assembly! 16 Gather the people together; prepare them for a sacred meeting; bring the old people; gather the children and the babies too. Even newly married couples must leave their homes and come. 17 The priests, serving the LORD between the altar and the entrance of the Temple, must weep and pray: “Have pity on your people, LORD. Do not let other nations despise us and mock us by saying, “Where is your God?” ”
Joel invites the people of Israel to turn away from sin and return to the Lord so that they can be saved when the Day of Judgment comes. This turning away from sin and returning to God is true “repentance.” What does turning away from sin and returning to God mean for you?
Lord, too often I get caught up in evil thoughts, desires and actions that get in the way of my relationship with you. Help me turn away from the things that keep me from you, that I may live a true and faithful life. Amen.
Those suffering weather calamities