Text: Joel 2:1-11
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
It was a call to divine judgement, a call to sincere repentance. To hear those trumpets blow, sounding from Zion, was to hear a warning call as God looked down from His throne on high and saw the wickedness that swallowed the heart and the soul, the spirits and the minds of His people. It was a cry that lifted to the ears of those who had strayed so far from His holiness to return not just to His temple in solemn observance of His will and His law, but to Him as their spiritual home.
This is the story littered throughout the pages of the word of the prophets, a story as old as humanity itself. It was told in the fall of man at Eden, in the foot of Mount Sinai’s height, at the fall of Jerusalem, as the enemies of Israel marched on its cities and laid claim to its territories. God’s people would forget the lessons of even their current struggles and would turn from God, choosing a path that would take them far from Him as they abandoned faith for the gods of this world.
How often did the children of Israel need to be betrayed by their temporal gods before their realized the Triumphant God would not contend with those who abandoned Him and the divine law He laid out for them?
How often do we need to be betrayed by our own idol before we realize our God will not share glory or take second place to anything of this world, He will not be with those who forsake him and His truly divine nature?
God on high, through our dear Savior Christ Jesus, blows a trumpet for us to hear. It is a call for each of us to return to His Holy Place, that we, despite our sins, despite our transgressions, despite the works of our hands and the thoughts of our minds that take glory from Him, may be reconciled to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) He sounds it loud, loud enough to cut through the noise and the business of this world around us. He does it not because He needs to be glorified or He needs His name to be praised. If it were only that He would have long ago turned from us, having a host of angels surround Him to do just that.
No, God, our Heavenly Father, sounds the alarm for us and for our sake. It is His way of giving us a way out from our sin. It is His way of repairing the breach that is between us and Him.
In love He calls us to Him that we may bask in the warmth of His grace, that we may find the joy of His blessings for us. He calls us to Him because He knows that we are weak, and that this world will take its toil on us, breaking us, leaving us in shatter pieces. It is only through His healing and His hope that we are strengthened and preserved not just in this life but also into the next. He calls to us because He knows the hope of our hearts and the longings of our souls, and that through Him even the plans and the designs laid out before us that once seemed impossible are now made possible as He guides our lives through the power of the Spirit. (Matthew 19:26)
He knows that the works of men on their own are futile, from dust we were created and unto dust do we return. (Genesis 3:19) Yet through Him we are capable of so much more then the dust that will just be caught and lost amidst the winds of this world. He calls to us in that knowledge and that wisdom because He has always intended more for us than the weakness and the wisdom of the flesh.
It’s now a matter of if we will listen. So often we hear the alarm of God going off and we are prone to follow our own path, our own way. We are given to reckless and foolish abandon as we turn from voice of God and seek to distance ourselves from it. Yet, what we again need to remember is that God doesn’t warn us for His sake. He is in no danger, there is no threat to Him, if we don’t heed His call. The danger is there solely in front of us, as temptation, sin, and iniquity chip away at our soul bit by bit, piece by piece until there is nothing left but the dust that we are to return to.
Take heed then dear brothers and sisters. God has blown the trumpet from His Holy Place. Through Christ Jesus He has sounded the alarm, calling for us to return to Him, to once more come to Him and kneel in humble thanksgiving before His throne. To those who fail to heed the call there is judgement and wrath, as they put themselves under the power of a Law they cannot hope to fulfill. But to those who hear it and come, there is mercy, love and hope, there is a strength to be found in the boundless and limitless compassion of a Father who waits for His wandering child to once more return to Him.
Look at your life, examine who you are and what you are doing with it. Take the time to reflect on the gifts that God has given you and the love that He has shown you. Do this solemnly, without trying to defend yourself or your actions, just sincerely scrutinizing yourself in sense of honest and candid humility. Ask yourself, have I given as I should? Have I loved as I have been called? Have I followed as I must? Does my life truly reflect and magnify the love of the Lord in it?
These are the questions of a sincere heart and a strong soul given to the call of those who hear the trumpet of the Lord. For them there is no judgment, just love, as, even amidst darkness and despair God makes a place for them, restoring daily to them the joy and the blessing of their salvation, as He reminds us that He does not warn us without giving us a means of escape, taking our sins that have stained our souls so scarlet and washing us as white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18)
Remember the words once spoken by the Lord then, and let them guide you as His voice, once more repeats, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” (Isaiah 58:5-12)
Lord, grant this unto us all.
Now may the grace of our Lord that surpasses all human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus even unto life everlasting, Amen.