Today’s Reading: Joel 1:1-3:21 (additional reading: Psalm 128:1-6 & Proverbs 29:18 )
There is not a lot that we know about the prophet Joel. All the information we have about him from his prophecy is that he was the son of Pethuel (Pethuel means vision of God). Joel is a wake up call for all of those in the church who are living in a condition of lethargy toward the things of God.
There is a song that states, “He gets sweeter and sweeter as the days go by, Oh what a love between my Lord and I. I keep falling in love with Him, over and over and over and over again.” Isn’t that the way that it should be, that every day, we find that the Lord is better to us than we could ever imagine, that God’s promises are real and trustworthy? As we find these things out, it ought to excite us all the more for the Lord. I believe that God wants us excited as Christians.
Nonetheless we know this is not the case for many. “Are you as excited for God now as when you were first saved?” “Are you as concerned about spiritual things now as when you were first saved?”
So often what happens is that people loose their zeal for God, and become content to just go through the motions of serving God. It is here when Joel says “”Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.”
This message is a wake up call! Throughout the Old Testament, God referred to Israel as the land of Zion. These scriptures begin with a command from the Lord of Hosts, the Great King of Kings to sound forth a trumpet in Zion. The sounding of a trumpet, in this context, is meant to call together all of the Men of War of Israel to prepare for a battle for the enemy is just outside the gates of the city and is preparing to overwhelm the land and devour everything that is in it.
The message is wake up, get ready and prepare! Sitting around doing nothing is not an option! Remember what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves… the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship…Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock… It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”