Christian, Heeding the call back
From Joel Chapter 2 verse 11 in the Oxford Annotated Bible it says starting in verse 11 and continuing to verse 14" The Lord utters his voice at the head of his army, how vast is his host, Numberless are those who obey his command, truly the Lord is great, terrible indeed-who can endure it, Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and mourning, rend your hearts and not your clothing, Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing, Who knows whether he will return and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, you God?
This is quite an interesting passage and there are a number of contrasting elements here. Overall whether it is locust or an army of destroying angels, the Lord can come after in the manner of judgment in numberless fashion, in ways that are beyond belief. For the most part that which is described is previously unseen, unrevealed and unknown. This army seems to come from an unknown place, arising from hills like the rising dawn, seemingly out of the night and out of no where to reveal its presence. At first this army was unseen and unknown and then its sudden revelation was so overwhelming that it is described as numberless.
Yet from within this, the Lord is to some issuing a call back. In verse 12 it says," Yet even know return to me with all your heart and it describes some of the means such as fasting, mourning and weeping, in other words sobering up to the presence and reality of the Lord and his impending and now presiding judgment which has become manifest.
It is interesting that the notations from this part of the Bible described verses 12 thru 17 in this chapter as the call to repentance, by which total calamity may be avoided.
Currently, it seems like there is financial calamity out there and maybe this is a type of scene that issues as a call back or call to repentance.
Within all these signs of impending doom, the Lord is open to receiving those who will turn back. The communication regarding this is quite direct. There isn't a call back at the level of dressing up for the occasion or getting the superficialities correct. The call is to turn wholeheartedly and at this level it is a full turn, and the call is to who you are as an individual person. A person can give their clothes, their money, and other treasures, but still sidestep the process of being there. I can drop off my gift but not be there at the party myself. For this call back as described in these verses, you have to show up yourself and leave no stone unturned in the process. All efforts must be present and active.
Even with this call back, there is no obligation mentioned here that the Lord owes anything for this or will necessarily do anything other than calling off the troubles. But because he is mentioning that he is merciful, and is gracious, he will relent from the punishment that is now proceeding forth.
It would seem to be true, that at the outset these troubles would impede any way back in that the difficulties are so calamitous, that from there it would be hard to do anything. But seemingly the Lord has despite all the troubles, left the capability and means intact for the call back to be executed. There is still a chance.
The Prodigal Son in the gospels was in widespread trouble when he came back from afar, which symbolically was also representative of where his heart had been, far away from his father. Yet the way back was still there, it still existed and there was still a chance.
It is unknown where the Lord will give a blessing or blessings to those who come back as in verse 14 is saying, "Who knows whether he will return and relent, and leave a blessing behind him.
Just as his army is so vast, the difficulties so numberless, and therefore it is impossible to decipher what exactly is happening and will happen, it is also a mystery as to whether the Lord will bless and how he will bless, but the implication of this verse is if it does happen, it will only be in the context of the state of affairs being that the individual and individuals have heeded the call back, and have turned their hearts back to the presence of the Lord by the means of prayer and fasting. What is decipherable is that there are the clear words of the call back, but on either end, the breath of the calamity on the one end, and the blessings on the other end, are not fully or presently decipherable but there is enough to say, that on one side there is calamity and the other side is the presence of the Lord's grace, mercy, abounding love and patience described here as being slow to anger. But, the turning towards this would require the turning of the heart, just as someone must turn from the shade into the sunlight to receive the sunlight.
Yet is not fully revealed what is there within the turn back, as the Lord may or may not bless in this manner or that manner. But the Lord's blessings must be sought in order to be found to the degree where the call back is heeded and like the Prodigal Son or Daughter, there will be uncertainty as to what specifically will be found when the return home does happen, but generally it is known that he or she will be dealt with mercifully, graciously and with steady and abounding love as described here in those verses in taking the road of the heart back to the Lord.
Related Tags: prayer, trouble, repentance
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