Pastor’s Letter – April 18, 2020 – Has This Been?

Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.

Joel 1:2-3

Dear Church and Friends,

When I read the question, “Has this been in your days?” I said, no. What we are going through right now is so outside of our collective experience. In Joel’s day, the people of Judah were facing a national disaster that outstripped anything they ever experienced.

Throughout his prophecy he calls on the people to seek the Lord.

  • Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth (1:8).
  • Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord (1:14).
  • Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil (2:12-13).
  • Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? (2:16-17).

But then Joel comes to the end of his prophecy and has a message of hope for the people. In 3:16 he shows us that in the midst of judgment, “The Lord roaring,” the people of the Lord have hope and strength.

That is a message for our generation of believers today. As the Lord does his curious work of judgment in America his people have hope. We stand in strength because he keeps us and dwells among us. Let’s rejoice, today, in Him.

Music: He Will Hold Me Fast, The Norton Hall Band.

Poetry: Love (3), by George Herbert.

Love bade' me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack,
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd any thing.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, you shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

Prayer: Please pray for the lost in your families, neighborhood, and community. The following video is a short biography of Annie Armstrong. She loved the lost and worked tirelessly to see gospel work supported in the United States.

Catechism: The Principles of Christian Religion.

  • Question 77: What is the sum of the second table?
  • Answer: That we love our neighbors as ourselves.
  • Question 78: What commandments belong to this table?
  • Answer: The last six.

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

All my best.

The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

Joel 3:16

Published by David B. Smith

Author, podcaster, pastor, and Big Pappa to my grandchildren.

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