“JOEL: Yet Even Now”

On Nov. 10, Pastor Katy preaches on Joel 2:12-17.

12 Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord, your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16 gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation;
assemble the aged;
gather the children,
even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her canopy.

17 Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.
Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
and do not make your heritage a mockery,
a byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

The Book of Joel was written sometime during the quiet, second temple era after the Hebrew people had returned from exile. Sometime during that period, Judah experienced a devastating locust plague which literally stripped her land bare of every shred of vegetation. Just when the land was beginning to recover, a drought hit the new growth. Joel’s message comes after the locusts and during the drought. Joel never directly says which sin is the problem, but the ambiguity allows this book to connect with every generation as we all find ways to bring destruction upon ourselves. It’s a prophecy about the power of turning back completely to God, the power of the Spirit to break down divisions, and the heart of God to embrace us yet even now.