Today we will be starting a new sermon series on the Book of Joel in the Old Testament. Many brothers and sisters think that the Old Testament is harder to understand, especially the prophets, and the minor prophets even more so. Say for example the Book of Joel, we might not have even heard of its name. This might reduce our confidence in reading the bible, and thus shy away from it.
The Book of Joel is very meaningful, where God, using His words, and what to man may look like disasters, calls on the world to repent.
In Joel, God sent locusts to attack the Israelites, which was unprecedented. In the past, God had sent locusts to the Egyptians during the Israelite forefathers’ exodus from Egypt. But why is God now using such heavy-handed tactics on the Israelites?
In the Bible, God’s purpose is to remind us that no matter what happens, God has His good and holy purpose, and He is still in control of everything. In Joel, God used his mighty power, even when it seems catastrophic, to call the world to turn back to Him.
So we see that the disasters are not just disasters, but have a deeper purpose, which is to bring salvation through them.
It was locusts in those days, but right now, God might be using the COVID pandemic to warn the world, to remind us that we need to turn back to God. The disasters also remind us how insignificant we are.
Locusts are very small insects, and when there’s only one or two, no one can imagine how destructive they can be. But God can still use them to fulfill His purpose.
Even though the SARS-CoV-2 virus is thousands of times smaller than locusts, it brings thousands of times more destruction. A virus that’s invisible to the naked eye has paralysed the whole world, and impacted billions of livelihoods.
When we read the Book of Joel, we are in awe of God’s reminder to us. Just like in the Book of Joel, God through His mighty power, reminds us that this is the time to turn back to God. God has used unprecedented ways to warn us that His judgement is near.
Previously it was locusts, and now it is a virus, but God’s judgement is much more terrible than any virus or disaster.
If this pandemic, or other events, makes us feel depressed or fearful, then we should focus even more on the coming judgement.
So when we read the Book of Joel, and especially during the pandemic, we should spend some time to reflect on our lives and relationships.
God wants us to turn back to Him, to build a deeper relationship with Him, to draw closer to Him, to cherish more the salvation that Christ has brought us through His sacrifice. Then, by God’s grace, we can stand in humility before God, walk with Him, and to live a Godly life through His power.
Pray that the Lord helps us to further grow in Him through the Book of Joel.
從這星期天開始, 教會講台開始新的書卷, 是舊約的約珥書。提到舊約, 很多弟兄姊妹都認為, 舊約是聖經中比較困難的部分。特別是先知書, 而小先知書 是難上加難, 如 約珥書, 我們可能書卷名都不熟悉, 這樣, 會使我們沒有信心讀聖經, 望而卻步。
約珥書 其實很有意思, 是神用衪的話語, 甚至是人看來是災難的環境, 來勸勉世人回轉向神。
在書中, 神使用蝗蟲來攻擊以色列人, 是他們從未經歷過的災難, 以前, 在以色列人祖先出埃及時, 神是用蝗蟲來對付埃及人, 現在, 為什麼神要用如此嚴厲的手段來對付衪的子民, 以色列人呢?
在聖經中, 神的用意是要提醒我們, 無論發生什麼事情, 神都有衪聖神聖潔的目的, 衪的希望, 神仍是在掌管一切, 在約珥書中, 神是是用衪的大能, 甚至在人看來, 是災難, 勸勉世人回轉向衪。
這樣看來, 災難便不是表面看的災難那麼簡單, 而是有它背後的意義。是神用衪的能力, 通過災難來挽救我們。
當時是蝗蟲, 今時今日, 神可能是用 肆虐全球的 新冠病毒來警告世人, 提醒我們, 人類需要回轉向神。第再者, 災難提醒我們, 我們是多麼的微小。
蝗蟲是很小的昆蟲, 如果只是一隻蝗蟲, 根本沒有人會想到, 它會有那麼大的破壞力, 但神也可以使用它來完成神的目的。
現在的病毒, 雖然比蝗蟲小千萬倍, 但破壞力, 比蝗蟲更利害千萬倍。連肉眼都看不見的小病毒, 卻可以癱瘓全球, 影響千億計人的生活。
讀到約珥書, 我們不能感嘆神給我們的提醒, 神仍用衪的大能, 好像約珥書一樣, 提醒我們,現在是應該要回轉向衪的時候, 因為神是用前所沒有的方法, 來警告我們, 衪的審判的來臨。
以前是蝗蟲, 現在是病毒, 審判來到, 會比現在的病毒或任何災難可怕千萬倍。災難是它可怕之處, 但神的審判是。更加的可怕。
如果這次病毒或其他事件的發生, 讓我們感到沮喪不安, 其實我們應該是更注著眼在神未來的審判中, 更是令我們不可面對。
所以在讀 約珥書及 在疫情中的這時候, 應是的我們反省我們生活, 及與關係的時候。
神希望我們回轉, 希望我們與衪有更密切的關係, 更親近衪, 更看重耶穌基督為我們犧牲的救恩, 以至我們可以更靠著衪的恩典, 謙卑的在神面前, 與衪同行, 一起的過著更敬虔的生活。求主幫助我們, 約珥書成為我們成長的幫助。