Nature, Nurture and Nearness

Today’s reading:
2 Chronicles 23
Joel 2-3
2 Corinthians 10

Tucked in the middle of today’s reading are two chapters from the book of Joel. While we know very little about the author and can’t pinpoint the time of its writing we find that it is still relevant for today. Joel is considered one of the ‘minor prophets’ in contrast to the ‘major prophets’ such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel or Daniel. The title minor prophet is given in reference to the length of their work and not in reference to its significance. The message contained in this book is addressed to the southern kingdom, more specifically the region of Jerusalem. However, it is divinely inspired and speaks to the condition of the church and mankind throughout the ages.

Chapter 2 opens with a warning or an alarm being given on the trumpet to make its hearers aware of the coming “day of the Lord.” An attitude of complacency had dominated the spiritual landscape. In the first chapter Joel uses the words, “Wake up you drunkards and weep” to call their attention to the presence of an invader that was devouring their land. We do not have to look very deep to see the similarity in the present day. A lack of awareness or a seeming complacency exist that blinds many from seeing just how close they are to danger. A person that is asleep is not aware of and subsequently not concerned with what is going on around him. Indifference is not an option for those who would bear the title of Christian. As such, Joel utters the command to sound the alarm to waken them to their present state followed by a command to return to the Lord with all your heart. He uses the imagery of rending the heart rather than their garments indicating that true inward reformation was required rather than just an outward symbolic gesture.

According to Joel, genuine repentance brings with it the revelation of God’s nature in that He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Once relationship was restored God reveals his nurture in driving out the enemy and bring restoration and healing to their land. As if revelation of God’s nature and nurture were not enough, God promises his nearness, (2:27) “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.”

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About Richard McGill

Hi, my name is Richard McGill and my family and I started attending CCC shortly after moving to the area eighteen years ago. Although eighteen years may sound like a long time it has past by so quickly. My wife, Sharon, and I have seen our four children grow and have twice experienced that bitter sweet day when we have loosened our grasp so that our children, could begin families of their own. Sharon and I have been more than rewarded for our sacrifices in that we again, on occasion, have in our home the squeals of laughter that only comes from innocence and youth. We revel in the titles that have been bestowed by sweet little voices and thrill to hear them say Papa and Memaw. In addition to our two married children we have two that are preparing for their future through education. Jenny is finishing her sophomore year at SIU and Alex will graduate from high school this spring. Throughout the past eighteen years I have been privileged to serve in several capacities at CCC. I have been a small group leader, greeter, usher, in the Easter production, on the worship team and have taught Sunday School. While I am honored to be asked to contribute to this most recent effort, I can’t help but wonder if they’re not still trying to find something that I am good at. View all posts by Richard McGill

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