Tuesday 07 June 2022

Bible Book:

Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield. (vs 21-22)

Joel 2:21-32 Tuesday 7 June 2022

Psalm 139:1-12


Joel was a prophet whose main concern was the Kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem and whose great innovation is the idea of ‘The Day of the Lord’ (2:1), a frightening moment, described as a day of darkness and doom and ecological disaster with fire and locusts. In contrast, today’s verses promise green fields, trees full of fruit, plenty of rain and an abundant harvest. The people no longer need to be frightened, they will know that God is living in their midst and that they will never again be put to shame by God.

 At verse 28 we are told that afterwards, God’s spirit will be poured out on all flesh. After what? We might presume it is after the Day of the Lord, but verse 30 reverts to the frightening portents of the Day of the Lord almost like a switch clicking to its default position. What we can know is that the pouring out of the Spirit is egalitarian, nobody is left out and everyone receives: male, female, slaves, free, young and old. Perhaps the talk of portents in the heavens and earth is a sign of the earthshaking reality of true equality and justice in which all people receive the Spirit of God.

Verses 28-32 are quoted by St Peter on the day of Pentecost (the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles) – both the promise of the Spirit and the heavenly portents. It is unclear what Peter's time scale was for these events, but he certainly interprets the events of that day as having been prophesied by Joel. The fact that at Pentecost everyone speaks in different languages relates to the egalitarian nature of Joel’s prophesy in which everyone is able to hear the message and invitation to receive the Spirit of God. Peter also quotes Joel when he calls on those present to call on the name of the Lord, and promises them salvation. It seems very likely that for Peter this means salvation from the ‘Day of the Lord’.


To Ponder:

  • The day of Pentecost was originally associated with a harvest festival. What does this and the references to ecological restoration in Joel say about today’s climate crisis?
  • What does Joel’s vision of the Spirit poured out on all flesh look like to you?
  • What do you need God to save you from?
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