16 January 2014Joel 2:18-27
"O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before." (v. 23)
Redemption is key. But to appreciate the extent of the redemption we need to go back to Joel 1:1-14, where famine and devastation is foretold. Now the reverse takes place. And, as often in the Old Testament, redemption is imagined in terms of the abundance of food (verse 26) and then in terms of pride (verse 27).
Another image of redemption in the passage is rain (verse 23). For many people who have suffered in the recent storms and floods, rain will remind them of something very different. But for a nation having to feed themselves in a hot climate, the need for rain is paramount. It is vital for growing crops, caring for livestock and (not least) for people to drink. To put it simply, it is fundamental to life. But the way the rain is described is significant. It is not a simple shower; neither is it a torrential flood. It is rain come early (and later too); it is rain that is abundant. It is enough for life, and then some more. What an image of grace - love from God and then some more! Love enough and plenty to share.
The people are invited to eat and to be satisfied. There is no place for hunger. Yet with this, there is a reminder too - the origin of this grace is "the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you" (v. 26). The implication is that the people shall realise this (verse 27) and not forget it.
- How helpful do you find the image of rain to describe God's grace? What other images might you use?
- It can be easy to forget God when things are going well. But in verse 27, there is a reminder that the origin of this goodness is God. How do you remember God when life is going smoothly? What more might you do to acknowledge the source of all goodness?
Bible notes author