Thursday, March 13, 2008


Confession time: I was sitting in church a couple of weekends ago, listening to pastor Eric teach out of Matthew, when he made a reference to the book of Joel. "Joel?" I thought. "I don't remember a book in the Bible named Joel." I sheepishly thumbed through the Old Testament, having no idea where to find this book--certain that Eric had made a mistake. "Surely he meant to say Job." I've been a Christian since I was 16. Trust me, that was a looooooong time ago! I read the entire Bible in college. Start to finish. (Not a very effective way to do it, but I did nonetheless.) And this incident in church was a reminder to me that not every bit of it sank in--obviously. Or at the very least, Joel needs a better PR firm. I'm reminded of the verse in Psalms that says:
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." -Psalm 119:11
Ouch! So I guess maybe it can get so hidden that even I can't find it! So I decided to check out this book of Joel. Three short chapters--only takes a few minutes to read. But it's very interesting. Basically, the entire book talks about desolation and the kingdom of Judah was being punished for sin...the pastures burned away, water sources dried up, three different kinds of locusts destroying the land. At first glance, not a very cheery book. But in the midst of all this desolation, Joel shares the message of God.
"'Now, therefore,' says the Lord, 'Turn to Me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.'" Joel -2:12
And, when the fasting, weeping and mourning are done, God promises restoration. One of the most powerful sections, in my opinion, is found in chapter 2, verses 25 and 26.
"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." Joel 2:25-26
What a message! Now there's one that I want "hidden on my heart!" God lays out the formula for restoration in this short, rarely publicized book of the Old Testament.
If you're at a point in your life where you feel like everything is dried up. When it seems the world around you and all you care about is dead or dying, cry out to the Lord. Fast. Weep. Mourn. Turn to Him...and not only will He take away the desolation, but He'll restore the years that were taken from you.
Imagine that! He'll take away the years that you've lost!!!God's grace is like anti-aging cream!
And not only that, God says you will be satisifed. You will praise Him...thanking Him for bringing peace in the midst of turmoil. You will be restored.

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