Joel 1-3 Of any prophet from the OT there is one that stands out as a beacon to see not only the past, but the present and the future in just three short chapters. Joel has been given a vision of something that so horrible that it is talked about for years to come. We can relate to that as we remember the events such as 9-11. People ask ‘where were you when the towers came down?’ Joel is speaking to the nation of Judah and warning them that they will experience their 9-11. In the midst of that Joel reminds them:
“God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, relenting of evil.” [Joel 2:13] Return to Him because He Is the Lord your God! He is the Lord and there is no other.
In 1915 Israel faced a locust plague just like the one Joel describes. Even this year, 2020, Africa has faced a similar plague. The question we must ask is not why it happens but what can we learn from it? That is why Joel’s question and Jesus’ statement is vital to our understanding. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” [Matt 5:6]
Have you forgotten the message of Joel? God is speaking directly, personally, and urgently to you to call unto Him and seek His face.
I never saw the connection. Psalms follows Job, why not before? In Job, we wandered for months while he suffered on the sidelines knowing full well the onslaught Satan was given permission to do. He was ruthless and we should expect the same. Job sought counsel from God and with God, but in the end face to face with God, he saw how unworthy he really was. The psalmist is suffering too, some of it self-inflicted, other times from the outside. He struggles, like Job, to understand and like Job he comes to the conclusion that God is God and man is man. So what are we to glean from all of this? Suffering is part and parcel of this life. We can try to avoid it but it is there nonetheless. Satan is our enemy and sometimes, as in the case of Job and Peter, he has demanded…not asked politely but demanded we be sifted. But, also sometimes we bring it about on ourselves. What is a body to do? The psalmist has the answer.
Who would have thought that our study in Job would prepare us to face our enemies – whether they are ourselves or others. Job was understandably confused most of the time but the psalmist facing these two enemies: himself and men; has victory over both. He knew that God saw his heart and knew his pain. God was his answer. He is asking us to answer this question: how do you handle the darkest moments of your life? Jesus said walk with me and learn and the psalmist says the same thing.
In the darkest of times, the psalmist chooses to seek the God who is omniscient. When we feel like we have failed or when men fail us, there is only one place to find peace and it is in the presence of God in prayer. We must remain in a mode of prayer throughout the day and night. Do as the psalmist and Paul; pray without ceasing.
There is only one path to victory when we face our enemies and it is by knowing that God sees all and knows all. He knows every part of our being from the hairs on our head to the innermost depth of our hearts. The psalmist trusted the God of righteousness to walk with him and show him the path to victory for his name’s sake. And we can do the same. So we are back to this question: Do we, like the psalmist, seek the face of God in prayer, fasting and weeping for His name’s sake? Do we pray upon our bed and when we are walking about?