Cause and Effect?
Lord Jesus, it is so easy to run away and hide, but You don’t want that. Let danger only draw me closer to You.
Read Joel 1:13-20
 Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God.  Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.  Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.  Has not the food been cut off before our very eyes- joy and gladness from the house of our God?  The seeds are shriveled beneath the clods. The storehouses are in ruins, the granaries have been broken down, for the grain has dried up.  How the cattle moan! The herds mill about because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep are suffering.  To you, LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.  Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat desperate instructions does Joel give (13,14)?
In the second half of this passage Joel gives us a dramatic description of the devastating effects of the locusts’ invasion (16-20): the seeds are shriveled in the field; the barns are empty; the cattle bellow with hunger. So what are the people to do, as they are faced with this terrible devastation? Joel is quite clear. They must cry out to the Lord in repentance, and fast together as a nation (13,14). That raises the important question. Why do they need to repent? What is it that they have done wrong? Interestingly, Joel doesn’t say. He’s not suggesting that there’s any particular link between what the people have done and what has happened to them. It isn’t a simple matter of cause and effect. He is saying, however, that in times of difficulty and disaster God’s people must draw close to him and humble themselves before him, seeking his blessing and help. Coming before the Lord in repentance and humility is not something we do only when we have something specific to confess. It should be much more of a permanent attitude and a natural instinct. Is that how you come into his presence?
Take time now to humble yourself before God. Number your failures and your needs.
Generous God, You know every need I have, every fear that invades my heart. Let Your Spirit bring calm and peace to me.
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