Summary: When you're in the middle of the devastation of a broken and sin-cursed world, don't be afraid.
- Alright—serious question…. Who in here is a morning person?
o Who is definitely NOT a morning person?
- One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that morning people like me can be really annoying to non-morning people.
o I think I first learned that lesson when I was a kid at church camp.
- When you’re rooming with non-morning people, it is NOT a good idea to turn on the lights and sing “Rise and shine and give God the glory” first thing in the morning.
o You might get a pillow or a shoe or whatever’s handy thrown at you.
- I’m sure that was kind of how the people in Joel’s day were feeling when he gave them the message we’re looking at this morning.
- Remember the desperate situation they were in.
o They had just gone through a devastating locust invasion.
- They had no crops, so they had no food.
o They had no way to make a living.
o They had no grain offerings and their livestock was either dead or starving or diseased, so they had no way to offer burnt offerings.
- They couldn’t eat. They couldn’t work. And they couldn’t worship.
o And here comes the prophet Joel with verse 21:
- The last thing you want to hear when you’re going through a devastating time in your life is,
o “Hey—things aren’t that bad! Cheer up and turn that frown upside down!”
- That’s probably a case for justifiable homicide.
o But I’m sure that’s exactly how the people in Joel’s day were feeling when he said what he did here.
- “Don’t be afraid”:
o What are you talking about Joel? I don’t know how I’m going to feed my kids and you’re telling me to not be afraid?
- “Be glad and rejoice”:
o I’ve lost everything and now you’re telling me to be happy about it?
- “The Lord has done great things”:
o Well, if this is an example of the great things He’s doing, I don’t want any part of Him—no thank you.
- Have you ever felt like that?
o Maybe you lost your job or didn’t get that promotion you think you deserved.
o Maybe your doctor told you those words that nobody wants to hear.
o Maybe you lost a child or a spouse or a parent.
o Maybe life has smacked you in the face and things just aren’t working out the way you hoped and dreamed.
- Maybe you’re seeing the locust invasion that’s happening in our local economy with over 1000 coal mining jobs disappearing, dozens of railroad jobs going away, and local businesses closing left and right.
o Before it’s all said and done, there are going to be hundreds of job losses in our region’s education system too.
- Every one of us in here will be impacted in one way or another.
o And in the middle of all that, God’s Word through Joel is telling us, “Don’t be afraid. Be glad. Rejoice.”
o Why? “Because no matter what kind of locust invasion you’re going through right now—the Lord has done great things.”
- Verse 21 here is right in the middle of six promises the Lord is making to His people.
o He made them to his people in Joel’s day—and He’s making them to His people in our day—here in this place right now.
- How’s it possible to not be afraid is desperate times like these?
o How’s it possible to be glad and rejoice when the world around us is falling apart?
o The only way it’s possible is because God has promised to do great things.
- And here’s the beautiful thing—I want you to notice here in verse 21 that God’s promises are so sure that He’s already sealed them in the past tense.
o God has already accomplished and sealed the promises that we’ve yet to experience.
- Because of that, we can be glad and rejoice this morning.
o Be glad and rejoice, because God has promised His provision.
o Look back at verses 18-19:
- Make no mistake about it—whatever you might be going through now, or whatever you might go through in the future—if you have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, God has not forgotten you.
- Verse 18 says that God became “jealous” or, depending on your translation, “zealous” for his land.
o Here’s the thing—a piece of land isn’t really God’s concern.
o What IS his concern is the fact that he made a series of promises about that particular land.
- He promised it as an everlasting inheritance to Israel.
o So what God is “jealous” and “zealous” about here is keeping his promises.