Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Has Such a Thing Ever Happened Before? Joel 1:2

We grow accustomed to certain patterns and cycles. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The work week and the week-end. The seasons and the holidays. Births, graduations, weddings, and funerals. We know what to expect. We go with the flow.
Every once in a while, something notable occurs. Has such a thing ever happened before? We turn to the elders, to the historians - what are we to make of this, that does not fit our patterns and cycles?

These disruptions may very well be gifts of God designed to interrupt our spiritual decline. The tremendous locust plagues that afflicted Israel were given for that very purpose. There is no question that the rare occurrence was not primarily a problem for agriculturalists, economists, and entomologists. The appearance of this enemy “like has never been before, nor will be again after them (2:2) was a divine signal calling for a spiritual response.

When our patterns and cycles are disturbed, do we ask the right questions? What is the source of our answers? Should it not be from the Lord, who will have his Day, and who works and moves to prepare us for that Day?

In our English translation of Joel’s prophecy, the locusts are mighty characters for the first chapter and a half. But the latter half of this book deals not with God’s before unheard of judgment, but rather of God’s never-seen-before revival. His mercies, which had been previously withheld (1:13) is now poured out in abundance, replacing desolation with abundance and distress with satisfaction. Whereas the people had never before experienced such chastisement, neither had they ever experienced such blessing.

Our lives are made up of cycles and patterns. But praise the Lord for His blessed interruptions, which bring both distress and comfort. May God be gracious to halt our spiritual decline, that we may see His glory as never before.

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