First things first. The book we’ll read for next book review Friday will be Galatians. It was the very first book ever done in BRF and most of you weren’t along for the ride way back when, so we’ll do it again. :)
I loved Joel. Even though it was a book where most of the words were talking about God’s judgment, I found it a very encouraging book. It has some of the most edifying words I’ve ever read.
"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And my people shall never be put to shame." 2:26
I’ve messed up big time in my life. Everyone has a story and I certainly have mine. God has a story for each of us and I am so glad that all the times I have failed him don’t mean that I’m a write-off. As I read about God’s judgments for sin I am always struck with the seriousness they are dealt with. Why can’t I remember how serious it all is to God and what it cost Him. Reading the last few chapters in Mark last week brought the Ray Boltz song to mind. "Keep me near the cross, may I never stray so far that I cannot see what was done for me at the foot of the cross." His mercy is beyond my comprehension and I want to stay near the cross.
Joel pleads with the people to turn back to the Lord. "With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." But he doesn’t leave it there. It’s too easy to just do those things. We have churches full of people doing this kind of stuff every Sunday morning. Getting ‘in the mood’ to do business with God in a service for an hour and not think twice about it all week long. Joel goes on to say, and this is one of my favorite verses now too, "So rend your heart, and not your garments;". Isn’t that getting to the point!? Don’t just do it as an outward show, get right down inside and rip your heart open before the Lord and ask Him to cleanse it. Let’s get serious about it.
Even then, the Lord’s mercy wasn’t a for sure thing. No one knew for sure if God would turn the tide and forgoe the second half of His judgment on a sinful people if they repented. Joel was telling them that you need to cry out to the Lord simply because it’s the right thing to do. It may not turn out okay for you in the end. You may still have pain and sorrow, but your soul would be right with your Maker. "Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him-"2:14. A statement was made once during a testimony given by a Mr.Sceery in our church and his words have stuck with me ever since. He said, "It’s not about being happy, I was happy without Christ. It’s about being righteous, and I wasn’t." Too true! We can be happy and blinded in our sin and maybe these people in Judah were. Thank the Lord for His word given to man to save us from ourselves!
I loved how the book of Joel started too. The first 3 verses were admonitions to train your children. Teach them to learn from your own mistakes. Teach them what man has done and what the Lord has done and will do. Teach them about your experiences and through them so that they will be more obedient and wiser than the last generation. Teach them all the scripture and give them ample warnings to refrain from disobedience. I just forget this part of training. I am learning and growing in so many areas, but I keep it all up here in my head. I should be taking my children along for the journey and when they come up against the same battles and lessons to learn they will have a head start in the right direction. "Oh yeah, mom and dad had a hard time with this and this is what God wanted them to do…" Wow, how things could be so much different for them, much the same as it was for us girls after watching mom and dad get saved and grow in their walk with the Lord.
I am going to stop rambling now and put Mr. Linky up. I loved Joel and I’m excited about Galatians next week. :)