Ain’t That a Shame

Opening Prayer

God, help me to remember Your faithfulness in the midst of brokenness.

Read Joel 2:18–32

18 Then the Lord was jealous for his land
and took pity on his people.

19 The Lord replied to them:

“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
an object of scorn to the nations.

20 “I will drive the northern horde far from you,
pushing it into a parched and barren land;
its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea
and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.
And its stench will go up;
its smell will rise.”

Surely he has done great things!
21 Do not be afraid, land of Judah;
be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things!
22 Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.
23 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.
24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the Lord your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

The Day of the Lord
28 “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
whom the Lord calls.

Reflect

If the pain of the world breaks our hearts, surely it has broken God’s heart first.

When terrible things happen, people naturally ask, “Where is God?” Joel understands that God’s reputation is caught up with the experiences of his people. When they suffer and are mocked, so is he. When they thrive and are honored, so is he. There is a concern that the story handed down through generations be one of honor and not one of shame.

Even in the midst of destruction and despair, the prophet turns to praise the goodness of God, and to point to a new future. In this future, abundance returns to the land. Fruitfulness is restored, and God’s people are blessed with the outpouring of God’s Spirit. The future is assured because of God’s past faithfulness.

In the tension between the “now” of this world and the “not yet” of his coming kingdom, we may easily forget God’s past faithfulness. Even in the face of suffering, God’s people will not be put to shame forever. The future will visit the present, when God speaks tenderly to the land, to the animals, and to his people. When he pours out his Spirit, those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Apply

Do you know young people with whom you could share your experience in the faithfulness of God?

Closing prayer

Lord, help me to bear witness to the light of Your compassion even in the midst of present darkness.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider