Friday, September 21, 2012

Joel 1-3

Daily Reading
Joel 1-3

Daily Thought

"The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel" (Joel 1:1) introduces all that we know of the prophet. His name means "Jehovah is God," and he appears to prophecy in Judah, for there is no mention of Israel. Most likely, he lived in the early days of the divided kingdom, perhaps at the time of Joash (early 9th century BC), because he speaks of the Philistines, Phoenicians, Edomites, and Egyptians, and not of the Babylonian, Assyrian, or Syrians.  

The greater villains in Joel are locusts, "what the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten" (Joel 1:4); and he recognizes this plague as God's judgment, a call to come back to God, "Yet even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning" (Joel 2:12). The Israelites would tear their clothes in distress, but it was symbolism over substance. God prefers repentance above religion; "rend your hearts and not your garments" (Joel 2:13).

"When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, 'Let's not tear it'" (John 19:23-24). A seemingly insignificant detail, unless you read Joel.

Daily Prayer

Righteous God, You have given me Your commandments, not as a burden; rather, they are a blessing. They give life and show me the way to live. Even the littlest commandment. Every Word You speak, God, is valuable and true. May I learn Your Word and keep it in my heart, so that it will guide my steps. 

You are a gracious and compassionate God. Thank You for so great a salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ.


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