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Week 75

October 1st, 2017
 
Hope for Tomorrow
Joel 2:18-27
 
Read
Then the LORD will pity his people and jealously guard the honor of his land. The LORD will reply, “Look! I am sending you grain and new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy your needs. You will no longer be an object of mockery among the surrounding nations.

I will drive away these armies from the north. I will send them into the parched wastelands. Those in the front will be driven into the Dead Sea, and those at the rear into the Mediterranean. The stench of their rotting bodies will rise over the land.”

Surely the LORD has done great things! Don’t be afraid, my people. Be glad now and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things. Don’t be afraid, you animals of the field, for the wilderness pastures will soon be green. The trees will again be filled with fruit; fig trees and grapevines will be loaded down once more. Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the LORD your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. (Joel 2:18-24)
 
Reflect
This section of the book inspires hope. Without it, Joel’s prophecy could bring only despair. This promise of forgiveness should have encouraged the people to repent. Joel contrasts the fear of God’s judgment (Joel 2:1) with the joy of God’s intervention (Joel 2:21). On the Day of the Lord, sin will bring judgment, and only God’s forgiveness will bring rejoicing.

Before, there were fasting, plagues, and funeral dirges; then, there will be feasting, harvesting, and songs of praise. When God rules, his restoration will be complete. In the meantime, we must remember that God does not promise that all his followers will be prosperous now. When God pardons, he restores our relationship with him, but this does not guarantee individual wealth. Instead, God promises to meet the deepest needs of those who love him—by loving us, forgiving us, giving us purpose in life, and giving us a caring Christian community.
 
Respond
What, if anything, in your life needs to be restored? A broken relationship? Your trust that God cares despite the hardships you face? Meditate on Psalm 30:5: “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
 
 
 
 
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