Today, I am reading and commenting on Joel 1-3.
As I read the beginning of this passage it made me think of the devastation in Puerto Rico from the two hurricanes which hit it this month. The passage describes a devastation which the people of Israel could see coming, but which they were powerless to stop or escape. As I think about the response which Joel called for from the people I want to add in the other areas devastated by hurricanes this year, the parts of south Asia devastated by flooding, and the areas of Mexico struck by earthquakes. Joel called on the people who suffered the disaster he described to turn to God and give Him their hearts. Looking at the world today, I believe that God is calling us to come together and mourn before Him. This is not just a message for those who have suffered these devastating disasters. This is for all of us. Let us tear our hearts and plead with God for forgiveness. I believe that if we humble ourselves before God, He will give us the resources to restore things better than before.
And it is for all of us. If those of us who did not bear the brunt of these disasters do not tear our hearts in prayer and fasting before God, we will be counted among the enemy nations recorded at the end of this passage. Those who are counted among the “enemy nations” in this instance will be held accountable for the suffering which went on in many of these lands before these tragedies struck. If the people of these lands turn to God and call out to Him in repentance, He will restore them and punish those responsible for their previous suffering. We have a choice, we can take this warning and seek God, or we will be counted among the enemies of God’s people. Seeking God is not just a mental, emotional, and/or spiritual exercise. It involves our material and physical selves as well. What that involves will be different for different people. For some of us, it will involve contributing from our material resources to restore those who were in the path of these disasters. For others of us, it will involve travelling to the devastated areas and helping them rebuild. For some it will involve both. It may involve other activities as well. Each of us will have to listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling us is our part in the activities of the Body of Christ.