Joel promises that God will rescue and restore God’s people. Hardships will be reversed. Instead of sending swarming locusts to eat the crops, God will bring abundant rainfall in the spring and autumn. There will be fields full of grain. God’s wrath had sent an army of locusts against a people who had wandered from a relationship with God, but now these same people will “eat abundantly and be satisfied.” God will restore a right relationship with his people “and my people will never again be put to shame.”

We do not talk much about the wrath of God these days. Maybe we should. Maybe we should inculcate a healthy respect for what God does not want to see in human behavior. The “wrath of God” is a biblical concept indicating God’s anger and threat to annihilate anyone or any group who goes against God’s will and purpose or who goes against God’s holiness and love. In the book of Joel, God’s wrath is evident when the people fall out of relationship with God. Here the prophet invites people to obey the first commandment, to know that no other God exists.

Our God has no patience when people pledge allegiance to false gods. Thus, a healthy respect for the wrath of God can lead to repentance for our complicity with the chaos and darkness in our world.

The good news is that our God is a God of grace who wants to restore a relationship with people and rescue us from the trouble we bring upon ourselves. God wants nothing less than full communion with God’s people: the people of Joel’s day, the people of Jesus’ day, and the people of our day.

Dear God, bring us into a full relationship with you so that we know and experience the abundant life you want for us. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 18:9-14

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Lectionary Week
October 17–23, 2022
Scripture Overview

The theme in the readings from the Hebrew scriptures is “abundance.” Joel speaks of the time of plenty in the land of Israel. This abundance is not only physical, for it includes a generous outpouring of the Spirit of God. The psalmist sings of abundant rain that allows the land to flourish. The hills, meadows, and valleys all sing praise to God. Second Timothy 4 contains the scriptural passage that brings us closest to the death of Paul. The apostle has been abandoned by many, but the Lord stands by him as he faces his likely imminent death. In the Gospel, Jesus warns us about the dangers of pride. The Pharisee in the parable thinks his personal goodness brings favor with God, but God desires a humble heart.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Joel 2:23-32. How has rain been a sign of God’s impending provision in your life?
Read Psalm 65. How has God’s forgiveness freed you to participate in creation’s joy?
Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18. When has God strengthened you in the face of evil?
Read Luke 18:9-14. What aspect of your life do you need to approach with renewed humility?

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