Devotional Thoughts: Sound the Shofar
In chapter one, there was a section describing the locusts, Joel 1:2-11 and then a part describing the response Joel 1:13-20. The same appears to be true in Joel chapter two. Joel 2:1-11 described the locusts and now this part in verses 12-17 looked at the response desired by God.
"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.
Who knows? He may turn and have pity
and leave behind a blessing --
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the LORD your God.
God's desire is a whole hearted genuine return on the part of the people.
Sometimes people have a picture of God, especially the God of the Old Testament, as a blood thirsty God.
There is no question that God cares about holiness because God is holy. The tri-fold repetition of holy, holy, holy testifies to the importance to God's holy character.
Thus, indeed, God can and does bring the hammer down at the unholiness that is running about on the earth. Yet, I don't think it is ever without warning. I'm not an Old Testament scholar and know every instance of God executing His judgment. However, it seems that those who wind up under His wrath are usually warned. Judgement was going to fall on Nineveh but God gave them a chance by sending Jonah. The Prophets were sent to warn and in some cases people turned from their sin and were spared and sometimes not.
Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.
Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.
Let the priests, who minister before the LORD,
weep between the temple porch and the altar.
Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their God?' "
The call goes out for fasting and prayer. the call is for everyone, young, old, newlyweds, nursing babies to gather together.
In the modern world, when we see the word trumpet we think of something like this ...
Image source: http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/textt/Trumpet.html.
However, a Jewish trumpet of that time was probably something more like this ...
Image source: http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/texts/Shofar.html
Hear a shofar.
Sound source: http://www.aish.com/hhRosh/hhRoshDefault/Symbolism_of_the_Shofar.asp
Lord, may I hear the call to return to you. And may I sound that call to others. You have not left us unaware of your desire for holiness. You have not left us without provision to make things right with you. You have sent Jesus to restore and it is up to us to choose the path back to you. God help me to follow that path daily and help me to bring others along. Amen.