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After the locusts have devoured, new life will come. “Even now”, declares the Lord, return to me
with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.
Joel 2:12

 

“They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defences without breaking ranks”. Joel 2:7-8

The background to Joel is that wave after wave of locusts attack the people of Israel. What the locust swarms have left, the great locusts have eaten, what the great locusts have left, the young locusts have eaten. What the young locusts have left, the other locusts have eaten. After the attacks of the locusts, there was a severe drought. It says in chapter 1 verse 12, “surely the joy of mankind is withered away.”

I sense that many of us have experienced a similar never-ending succession of attacks. For many of us, our hearts are beaten and discouraged and dry. One thing after another has come against us, from every direction:

in our families, heartache, divorce, drug or alcohol problems, offences;

in other close relationships, misunderstandings, conflict, unmet expectations, disappointments;

in our health or the health of our loved ones, unexpected test results, deterioration, recurrence

of old stuff;

in our finances, unexpected expenses, loss, reversals, and other damage;

in our reputation, insults, false accusations, attacks on our integrity

Our prayer is that today we will receive encouragement and living water from the Lord and hear again His recommissioning call “follow me.” May the Lord greatly encourage us and help us to see that we have been going through a time of closer identification with His sufferings, so that we may know and understand Him better, so that we may know how to comfort others, and so that we may be partakers of His glory and resurrection life.

I believe that He wants to show us how dry we are and how much we need Him and each other. We remember our Lord Jesus’ death and we see Him systematically attacked in every area, stripped of all dignity, seemingly of all hope. One attack upon Him after another, physically, spiritually and mentally.

Joel chapter 2 begins with an alarm. An alarm is a loud warning device used to protect us from danger, wake us from sleep and to rally us to action. May we wake up, stop what we are doing and have a fresh look at Him and our lives. May we forget about the outward things—the religious things that everybody sees. It is the seemingly little things, the hidden things that no one sees that are critical to deal with. If the heart is right, the feet will follow. Rending our hearts is about being really upset about our sins and not just being sorry when we are caught. Our sins hurt God, others and ourselves, but we tend to hide them and blame others. May we pause and ask the Holy Spirit to show us our pride, our selfishness, our stubbornness, the idols in our lives that have taken the rightful place of our God.

One of the ways to keep our hearts soft towards the Lord is to remember the moment we heard His saving gospel. May we see Him as He really is; He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. The only way we can really change is to see God the Father as He really is, a loving, wonderful, caring God who gives us His very best – His son, Jesus Christ, His infallible Word, and His Holy Spirit who perseveres with us and helps us to change to be more like Jesus. He crowns us with loving-kindness and tender mercies.

Mark Mudri     
Australia

– This article comes from AI’s “No Higher Calling,” a devotional for lawyers.

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