Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 2

The Day of the Lord

by

Today's Text: Joel 1:15-20, Joel 2:1-11, Psalm 43:4, Romans 10:13

Scripture Reading: Joel 1:15-20, Joel 2:1-11, Psalm 43:4, Romans 10:13

You’re probably tired of hearing about the locusts. Welcome to the club.

Well, I’m definitely not interested in talking about “cicadas,” a term which, until today, I thought was Southern slang for the locusts we read about in Joel chapter 1: “What the devouring locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten…” (v. 4). For the record, they’re not the same. But they’re still creepy and crawly, and although I’m probably hurting a scientist’s feelings right now, they’re the same in my book.

Not long ago, the 13-year cicadas took over our city, which is why I can say for certain that the worst part about these little pests is the swarming noise. And while we’ve moved on in today’s Scripture passage without mention of locusts, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. We’ve just needed to focus on other things Joel tells us will signal the day of the Lord—and it’s quite a list. Compared to food shortages and moaning cattle, the locusts are nothing.

That’s what I was beginning to think a few week’s into our recent cicada invasion: Maybe things weren’t so bad! In fact, the swarming sounds were sometimes soothing, like white noise, compared to newer frustrations like recent headlines, car repairs, and dental surgeries. Then, just when I was beginning to consider the cicadas old news, someone sent a mass email to our neighborhood with the subject line, “High-Pitched ‘Whirring’ Noise Throughout Neighborhood.” It read:

Does anyone know where the noise throughout the neighborhood over the past few days has been coming from? It’s loud over here! Hoping it will cease in the near future, but just wondered if anyone else is aware of the source?

I’m not sure how our neighbor had successfully avoided them for weeks. But as I recalled my own miserable first encounter with the swarming bugs, I felt the urge to send her a sympathy casserole.

With the ever-increasing list of destruction headed our way in Joel, I think we, too, need a reminder of exactly how bad things actually are. Sin is real, and it is devastating.

Something I’ve learned about the locusts in Joel, versus the cicadas of my own experience: their swarming results from a collective desperation to be fed, and it is extremely damaging to crops in their path. The hungrier they get, the louder they become.

Isn’t it the same for us? We are willing to destroy almost anything in the name of satisfaction. We are are willing to worship almost anything for a promise of fulfillment. Sin rages, and we continue to turn up the volume.

We cannot be counted on to stop and listen on our own, which is why it’s so beautiful that, above all the terrible noise we’ve grown accustomed to, God still makes Himself heard.

“The Lord makes his voice heard
in the presence of his army.
His camp is very large;
those who carry out his command are powerful.
Indeed, the day of the Lord is terrible and dreadful—
who can endure it?”
- Joel 2:11

He doesn’t just make His voice loud as the day of judgment approaches. He makes sure it’s heard by those who love Him, and beckons to those who don’t yet know the sound of His voice. Upon hearing Him, may our hearts respond in love and in praise, echoing the sentiment of the psalmist:

Then I will come to the altar of God,
to God, my greatest joy.
I will praise you with the lyre,
God, my God.
- Psalm 43:4

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  • Danya Ho

    We cannot be counted on to stop and listen on our own, which is why it’s so beautiful that, above all the terrible noise we’ve grown accustomed to, God still makes Himself heard.

  • Jesus,

    I know that my heart and mind are so noisy and sometimes, well most times unfortunately it is so hard for me to distinguish your voice in all the noise. The noise of this world and the many headlines, the noise of my complacency, the noise of my inconsistent prayer/ devotion life, the noise of my SIN, the noise of my desires, my unmet wants, my fears about the future. So much noise in my life that sadly I can’t even hear you clearly or attend to you.

    Jesus, but through the noise I already know that I am absolutely nothing without you, I know that I need you and Lord as I read your Word I realize what I wretched soul I am. I realize how far from you I’ve strayed and I am so convicted always by your word. So Jesus again I ask that you draw me near to you and that you forgive me for my many many sins, especially my complacency and my tendency to focus on trivial things. Lord tonight I ask you restore me, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Jesus, please forgive me and help me to do better. To hear your voice and not be carried away by the noise of this World and of my own sins. Lord I pray that you help me to trust you in every area of my life. I surrender my worries and fears to you(, help me to trust your plan.

    In Jesus Name,

    Amen

  • AlwaysLearning

    We’re in such a noisy place, this world were in. It’s comforting to know He acknowledges that noise and seeks us through it. We too are responsible to reduce the noise so we can hear His voice.

  • Lindsey Perez

    Such a powerful message to read

  • Kara Lindsey Milton

    So thankful to be apart of this study!!

  • this study is really helping to see some things I havent focused on. I thanks God for being a part of it.

  • Of all the things in the devotional what struck me most was what Kaitlin Wernet said, “Isn’t it the same for us? We are willing to destroy almost anything in the name of satisfaction. We are are willing to worship almost anything for a promise of fulfillment. Sin rages, and we continue to turn up the volume.

    We cannot be counted on to stop and listen on our own, which is why it’s so beautiful that, above all the terrible noise we’ve grown accustomed to, God still makes Himself heard.”
    This really touched and blessed me.
    Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
    Thank you for allowing God our Abba to use you.

    • Corina Cast

      Agreed! The imagery of the locust is powerful. So thankful that His word is living, active and still so relevant in my life.

    • Micahlee

      That sections really struck me as well!

  • Sarah Parfett

    It’s such a beautiful reminder of Gods love for us too. Imagine us having to bear the weight of our sin as described in Joel! For me, This study is highlighting the immense price that Jesus paid for us and shows just how much God loves his children.

  • Thankful that I have you great women to interpret scripture and give me a different insight than what I gleaned from the reading. I sensed a deep sorrow from Joel, as if he was saying… “isn’t the punishment enough?” Bring on the Day of the Lord! The people desperately need you!

  • It’s reassuring that even in the midst of our human depravity and sure future, God is sovereign and ready to right every wrong. What an awesome God we serve! ❤️

  • Jessica cebc

    Great reminder that the Lord will make His voice heard. All we have to do is listen for Him!

  • Heidi V.

    I’m no theologian. In fact, most of my theology comes from the songs we sang as children in Sunday School. You know…”Jesus Loves Me” – yes, me. And “Jesus Loves All the Little Children” – all of us – all colors and sizes and races. And “This Little Light of Mine” – do the right thing and others will see God’s light. This passage made me things of “I’m in the Lord’s Army”. Yes. I have my own horde of locusts threatening my garden and storehouses. Absolutely. I have sin. I consider myself warned. But I also know whose side I want to be on. If that army of the Lord is headed my way on the Day of Judgement, I want to be in the Lord’s army. Joel describes how an efficient army works. They “don’t push each other, each proceeds in his own path. They dodge the arrows never stopping”. I want to march with my fellow Christians in the Lord’s army. I want to work with them in perfect unison like the most well trained Seal Team. I want to storm the walls of cities and enter into houses with the word of the Lord on my lips, His truth as my shield and His love as my weapon. The battle for souls is raging, and the enemy is holding nothing back these days. Dear Lord, daily conquer the sin in my heart – so that I may serve in your army.

  • Yesterday I was so heavy….Hanging on to headlines as if each update was my life source, living in the comments section as split opinions spread around the internet. “Why is all of this happening? Who is to blame? Is it gun control? Is it the administration?” My heart questioned and questioned. Then as I got in the shower last night, finally quiet from the buzzzzzz of it all, His words hit me hard: this sin collective, it’s on all of us. Our complacency to sin of all sorts — self absorption & magnification, gossip, addiction to technology, and silence in acceptance of violence in movies, video games, and pop culture has numbed us to the gravity of our sin. We just accept it. This is not a gun control or administration issue — it’s a sin issue, and it starts in the hearts of each of us. We uncheck our own sin to check other people’s — justify our reactions while judging those around us for theirs. I am so guilty of this. Heaps of shame on my head. As I examine my heart this morning I ask God, expose my sin! I repent of all the ways I’ve glorified sin, or willfully ignored it, turning a blind eye to the very thing tearing our world apart right now. Sin. Our gracious God, how it hurts Him to see us trust our own devices over the life-giving Word He’s given us as a guide to life, a hiding place in times of trouble. Return to us, our First Love, as we lean on You to purge our hearts of sin. May we learn to trust in only You as You complete the work started in our hearts when we first accepted You. And may the true Christians rise up, pointing the finger first at our own sin before attacking others. We need You, God!

    • Vanessa Roberts

      Thanks for this! Such a good reminder. It’s so easy, and I do it all the time, to point the finger at all the bad stuff in the world and the terrible things people do without first looking at my own sin in my heart. <3

    • Emily

      Amen!!!!

    • Jody Heavenrich Hensley

      So true and I definitely needed to hear this! Thank you

    • SuzD

      Amen Kylee, such true and thought provoking words. Thank you for stopping me in my tracks.

  • I love the reminder that the Lords voice will be heard. I often hear his whisper in the loudest of times.

  • Diane Huntsman

    Sin is a buzz kill to be certain, and it’s easy to look out at all the horrific acts of violence and see sins reign, it always easier to gasp and look on in disgust at the “biggie” sinners of this world.. but what about me? What about Christian Diane? My complacency far too often, my sin of omission, my sin of confessing sin but not really repenting of it, my abuse of grace, my consumption with self.. the list is inexhaustible so I’ll spare you and me the unending list.. today I’m challenged to stop shaking my head in disgust at the rest of the worlds mess they’re in and place the pointing finger at my own heart.. I need to face the music of where I am failing to live out true discipleship.. oh I need to pray for the world, for the countless number of humans who need to respond to Jesus’ love and call to repentance, but I also need to spend some time prostrated in heart facing my own sin and comfortableness… I need to stop taking my own sin lightly whilst I judge everyone else’s sin so heavily..the nails were driven through the hands and feet of my Savior for MY sin as well as the worlds sins.

    • Kimberly

      Thank you for your words, Diane. The Holy Spirit has shown me myself in the mirror though what you have written.

    • Christina D.

      This was convicting to me today Diane. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. It’s just so easy to keep our focus on other people’s sins and ignore our own. “I also need to spend some time prostrated in heart facing my own sin and comfortableness… I need to stop taking my own sin lightly whilst I judge everyone else’s sin so heavily..the nails were driven through the hands and feet of my Savior for MY sin as well as the worlds sins.” Praying this today.

    • Mamaof4

      Amen!

    • Chris Gruhlke

      Ouch!

  • Caroline

    I find this so timely given recent events. Lately, it does feel as though sin is speaking so much more loudly than love in our world – with messages of hurt, pain, loss and destruction. It’s disconcerting and demoralizing. I’m praying for the faith and wisdom to hear God’s voice and not get lost in the clamor, and for the strength to share His message into the pain. Because He is the only steadfast thing.

  • Stephanie M Todd

    I am so in love with this Bible Study. Being faced with sin and its destruction, realizing the power of God, reading that He wants to be so loud in our lives He overpowers every noise is so very important in my life right now. The world wants to water it all down, even in churches sin isnt discussed as it used to be and while I know its all forgiven it is still important to understand its significance in my life. Thank You.

  • Claudia Domínguez

    “He doesn’t just make His voice loud as the day of judgment approaches. He makes sure it’s heard by those who love Him” God is calling our attention!!!! He is Mercy!!!!!

  • As I was reading Joel this morning, it dawned on me that before the army of locusts in chapter 2, there is drought. Food cut off, no pasture for the cows, seeds shriveled, store houses and graineries are broken down, flocks suffering, etc.
    I thinks this applies to our lives. I don’t know about you, but when I’m spiritually dry is when I am the most tempted, lacking in self control and find myself sliding back.
    Lord, may I draw from the well that never runs dry and listen to the sound of your voice during the desert experiences of life.

  • “…above all the terrible noise we’ve grown accustomed to, God still makes Himself heard.”

    This is beyond comforting in a world as noisy as ours and with hearts that tend to convince ourselves that the clanging noise is preferable to the sweet sound of our Father’s love.

    • Tochi Heredia

      I loved that part, too. How deep the Father’s love for us, how sweet His voice!!! ❤

    • SuzD

      Oh the sweet sound of our Father’s love. So happy to see your post today .

  • Wow, locusts, drought and huge invading armies. The locusts seem to be saying “if you think we are bad just wait until an army as numerous as we descends upon you”.

    Thank you Tina for the New Day reminder.
    This is indeed a new day with new opportunities. May we use this new day to comfort the suffering and proclaim Christ, to call to repentance those who have not yet tasted His goodness.

  • Praying that my heart, and my ears, will be wholly His today…..

  • churchmouse

    “Woe because of that day! For the day of the Lord is near and will come as devastation from the Almighty.” God is not kidding around. He is crystal clear. Judgment day is coming and it is closer than we think. I shiver and shudder when I read that verse but I am grateful for its clarity, directness and, above all, honesty. His judgment will be fierce and it will be fair. Whereas there is comfort for those who are His, do not be mistaken – He will do what He says and how He says. And there’s only one Way to have peace on that day. The Way is Jesus. As the day draws ever nearer, may we stop worrying about who we might offend and just speak the Truth sincerely, clearly and directly. There’s no more time for kidding around.

  • Christie

    Wow, I never thought of sin as a volume that drowns out God’s voice, but it makes so much sense. It reminds me of the story about God showing up as a whisper instead of as thunder, or in an earthquake. He has spoken to me and called me back to him distinctly when my sin created difficult circumstances in my life at least 3 very defined moments in my life. Each of those times, He extended an amount of grace that astounded me. I could not respond any other way, but to repent and come back home to Him. He is such a good and loving Father!

  • Every new day is the day of the Lord.
    New dawn.
    New mercies.
    New grace.
    New life.
    New Hope.
    Everyday is the day of the Lord.
    Let us rejoice and be glad I’m it… Amen.
    Praying, sisters, your new day is filled with His presence, grace, love , hope… xxx

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