The human struggle is often about finding a safe, secure place and then having a sense that one's life is worthwhile, productive.
So, where to find that safety? And how do you come to know that life is worth living?
The best place to start is at the source, in the presence of the Creator.next >
O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame.
Joel 2:23-27next >
Many of us can relate to the people of Judah. They had been overrun by locusts (Did you have cicadas in your area this summer?) and their crops were ruined by drought and wildfire. The people cried out, but they also believed God would rescue them. In today’s text, God answers their prayers and restores their land, blessing them with rain, crops, and plenty to eat. Can you sense their relief and gratitude?
But that is not all that's going on here. God is committed to more than Judah’s physical well-being. They had turned away from God and tried to satisfy their own desires. This displeased God, but God took the initiative to forgive them and restore them spiritually. The good news is that this restoration, originally offered to God’s chosen people, is available to every one of us today through Jesus. Like the Israelites, may we know and acknowledge that the Lord is our God, and there is no other, for our salvation comes from God alone.
Tracy Hartmannext >
God, so many times I think I am God. I turn from you and try to meet my needs in my own ways. Forgive me, please. Thank you for taking the initiative to reach out to me, and thank you for being willing to supply all of my needs. Help me to trust in you, and to acknowledge that you are indeed God. Amen.next >
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,
“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!
2 Corinthians 6:1-2
Tracy Hartman is a professor of practical theology and homiletics at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Tracy loves to hike and camp and is an avid knitter and quilter.
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent