Today’s Reading: Joel, Psalm 42
Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation. – Joel 1:3
This hard time that you are going through, this time of loss and mourning over what you used to have, pay attention for this is a time you need to tell your children about and they need to tell their children. For generations, your children will have these stories to share with their children – times when the Lord has provided and brought you out of the valley of trouble. These stories of God’s provision will provide a gateway of hope for future generations, when they find themselves going through a difficult time (Hosea 2:15).
The grapevines have dried up, and the fig trees have withered. The pomegranate trees, palm trees, and apple trees – all the fruit trees – have dried up. And the people’s joy has dried up with them. – Joel 1:12
At times, everything that has sustained you and all that has given you pleasure will be taken from you. It will dry up and, with it, your joy. You will begin to wonder, “Is God really a merciful and loving God? Am I being punished for something?” God responds to your need for answers and confirms His identity to you. He instructs you on how to respond to this difficult time – this time of uncertainty.
Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Bring the leaders and all the people of the land into the Temple of the Lord your God, and cry out to him there. – Joel 1:14
This is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of a curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before. – Joel 2:12-14
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged, BUT I WILL REMEMBER YOU…
each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life. – Psalm 42:5-8
God confirms who He is. Look back at all He has done for you over the years. Remember His faithfulness to you and know with confidence that He has more blessings to pour into your life.
Surely the Lord has done great things! Don’t be afraid, my people. Be glad now and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things. Don’t be afraid, you animals of the field, for the wilderness pastures will soon be green. The trees will again be filled with fruit; fig trees and grapevines will be loaded down once more. Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floor will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil.
The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you. Once again you will have all the food you want and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you. – Joel 2:20b-26a
God is in the middle of all of this. None of this has caught Him by surprise. Remember His faithfulness and trust that He has great plans for your future, that your joy will not be dry forever but that you will rejoice again in how your God has provided during a difficult time. You will have a story of God’s provision and His redemption to tell your children and your children’s children.
Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
and your wonderful miracles.
Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness. – Psalm 145:4-7