Grain offerings and drink offerings are cut off from the house of the Lord. The priests are in mourning, those who minister before the Lord. The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the olive oil fails. Joel 1:9-10
Are you Britney Spears? Recently, the bubble gum pop star turned online exhibitionist stated that she no longer believes in God. She’s had a tough life in the popular eye. The media made her, and the media savaged her. Britney used her God-given talent to build back stronger (“Stronger” is even a song she wrote), and she’s persevered through tough relationships, abuse and misuse of her career, and public humiliations at every turn. Britney’s response? She takes off her underwear, opens her camera app, and gives God the collective finger. It makes me feel genuinely sad for her because the field of her life, successful or not, is ruined. Once, new wine and offerings were the product of how she used the talent God gave her. Now, her choices have made her life into a dried-up wasteland.
Or, are you Queen Elizabeth, who was buried just yesterday? Yes, I know there are many detractors of the English monarchy; yes, I’ve heard the conspiracy theories. And, yes, I’ve spent the 10 days since Elizabeth died, listening to all the times over the years when she embraced Christ. That’s so much more powerful than detractors or conspiracies. Elizabeth spent all of her seventy years as queen professing her devotion to Christ, saying it was the foundation of her life, of her service, of her power to even sit on the throne. At every turn of her life, not even counting her time as head of the Anglican Church, the Queen gave credit to Jesus as her reason for being who she was.
One celebrity spurns faith and another fully depended on it. But let’s not be too hard on Britney nor too easy on Elizabeth. They’re both sinners, and they need Jesus, whether they believed in Him or not. We resemble both, sometimes even at the same time.
Today’s verses from Joel are an observational warning of the consequences of abandoning God. What will people say about me or you? Will they celebrate our faith in Jesus? Or will they see our lives as barren, comprised of sour wine and polluted oil, because we exchanged that faith for something tawdry? Do we use our lives now to live in praise of God, thanking Him for how He provides all we have? Or do we praise ourselves, buffing the dull rocks of our existence and telling ourselves that someday they might look like diamonds?
For more reading: Numbers 18:12, Isaiah 5:6, Isaiah 22:12, Jeremiah 3:3, Hosea 9:2-4, Joel 1:11
Lord, all praise to You alone for all I know. All I know is a gift from You. Thank You!
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