From the Pastor's Pen

Pastor Sally’s Devotional 5/26

| May 26, 2020

Dear Friends, 

I was reading the book of Joel this afternoon.  Joel is one of the minor prophets of the Old Testament.  It is believed that he may have been priest/prophet because of his interest in the Temple, the feasts and worship, and he probably lived in Judaea sometime after the Jewish people returned from Babylon to the Land of Israel.  The Temple reconstruction was begun by these returning exiles about 516 B.C.  Joel is roughly dated between 400 and 350 B.C. and so may have served in this Temple.

So why, you may ask, was I reading the book of Joel?  Well, Peter quoted Joel in his address to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem at Pentecost.  So I was reading Joel to remind myself of the context.  What I found there surprised me – locusts!  Turns out, most of the book of Joel is about a swarm of Locust who devastate the land.  Here’s a bit of the first chapter:

 For a nation has invaded my land,
    powerful and innumerable;
its teeth are lions’ teeth,
    and it has the fangs of a lioness.
 It has laid waste my vines,
    and splintered my fig trees. (Joel 1:6)

It’s sort of terrifying what a tiny insect can do to destroy a nation.  Joel says the tiny teeth of the locust is like the teeth of lion.  Then it suddenly struck me how similar are our circumstances today, only the tiny organism that is attacking our world is even smaller – microscopic.  Joel doesn’t really state that he believes the Lord sent the Locusts as a plague on the people but he does call them to return to the Lord with their whole heart, to go into mourning and fasting, to sanctify the congregation and to beg the Lord to save them.  And the Lord does, indeed, save them.

Be glad, people of Zion,
    rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
    because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
    both autumn and spring rains, as before.
 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. (Joel 2: 23-24)

I remind you of this old, old bit of scripture with a little trepidation.  There are pastors in some churches today who suggest the coronavirus is a plague sent by God on the world for it’s sins.  I don’t believe that.  Even Joel was reluctant to be so bold as to blame God for the locusts.  I do, however, believe we should turn to God in prayer and ask for help.  Joel reminds us that the Lord “is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”  We can trust God to be good, even when the future is uncertain. 


Pr. Sally

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