Where Your Heart Is: A Caring Heart
When you read the book of Joel
You realize pretty quickly that it’s not exactly a happy story,
At least not at first.
Like much of the literature from the Hebrew Prophets
Joel is written during a time of communal stress
A locust plague or two
more than a normal helping of community angst.
We may not read Joel very often.
He’s considered a minor prophet,
Not because his words are unimportant
But because it’s a relatively short book
And so its tucked here towards the end
With the other shorter prophecies
Like Hosea and Obadiah and Nahum.
We may not read Joel very often
But this vision that Joel casts,
About half way through his prophecy
After heartache and hunger and community wide mourning
Well, this vision is the stuff of hope.
O Children of Zion
Rejoice in the Lord our God
For God has given you rain
Early rain, for your vindication
To this agrarian people decimated by insects who’ve destroyed their crop,
Joel speaks this word of hope:
The threshing floors shall be full of grain,
The vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will repay you for the years
The swarming locust has eaten
You shall eat in plenty…
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel…
Then afterward, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams
And your young men shall see visions
Even on the male and female servants,
In those days, I will pour out my spirit…
Some of that language may be familiar to you
Even if you’ve not been flipping through the prophets
For some light bedtime reading.
According to the Acts of the Apostles,
It was this text in the second chapter of Joel
That prompted Peter to preach to the crowds on Pentecost
The very speech that some people thought
Was inspired because the people
Were filled with new wine…
Wine potent enough, apparently
To give imbibers the ability to speak
And to hear
in a multitude of foreign languages.
Pentecost…the day the church was born.
But Peter knew differently.
Peter knew the PROMISE of the Holy Spirit
The promise of the abiding, animating, healing presence of God
Moving among God’s people
That promise was for everyone [Read more…]