Thursday

“Then the LORD became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people.” (v. 18)

Joel 2:18-27 Thursday 26 January 2017

Psalm: Psalm 93


Background

For us the word 'jealousy' usually denotes a petty and despisedemotion, but jealousy in God is better represented by our word'zeal' with its positive connotations when the cause is a just one.It expresses God's deep concern for God's people and the land Godgave them whenever their allegiance to God becomes displaced;Exodus 20:5-6 expresses the principle.

Verse 18 marks the turning point in the book of Joel. We are toassume that the offer of grace and the prescribed way of accessingit in verses 12-17 have been accepted by thepeople, and in this verse Joel introduces God's response. Up tothis point the prophecy has described the locust plague and itsimpact; from here on God is addressing the people through theprophet, along with the land itself and the animals in verses21-22.

Although locust plagues usually reach Palestine from thesouthern deserts, they are described as a "northern army" in verse20 probably because of the earlier use of military metaphors inthis chapter and the fact that invasions of Judah were generallyfrom nations to the north.

God promises the restoration of the normal cycle of the seasons(the early rain of November time and the later rain of March/April- verse 23), and consequentially the harvests of grain, wine andoil. However, the culminating purpose of God's gracious response tothe people's repentance in verses 26-27 is that the people willrecognise God as their only God, and not endure shame in the faceof other nations.


To Ponder

  • In what senses, if at all, does the promise of verse 25 thatGod will repay all that the people have lost in the ravages of thelocust plague have relevance in the world of today?
  • The experience of plentiful food after a hungry time will leadpeople to praise God according to verse 26. What experiences, ifany, have led you to spontaneous praise of God? Should our praisesbe dependent on blessings received? Why? Or not what?
  • Is jealousy a trait we might appropriately find in ourselves?If so, in what circumstances might it be a proper expression of theimage of God in us?

 

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