Wake up, you drunkards, and weep! Wail, all you drinkers of wine; wail because of the new wine, for it has been snatched from your lips. Joel 1:5
Something big is coming; big to-doings are in motion. First, Joel talks about locusts, about how the insects of sin will devour everything in their path. Now, he’s telling the wine-lovers to wail and cry because the new wine on its way will be much more than they can handle, much stronger than their current swill.
It’s notable that Joel calls out drunks: people who’ve self-indulged in too much wine that the pleasure of it has dulled their senses. They spent their leisure time drinking alcohol into sin and now something worse is happening. Something worse is afoot in the world and the drunkards who should have been ministering, loving, sharing, working are going to be caught unawares. Locusts are in the crops; disease has rotted something from within. When they awaken to the issue, it will be too late.
Me and you: we should heed that warning, too. Throttle back on what we think is “the good life” before that life overtakes us and leads us down paths we don’t want to take. “The good life” was the subject of the sermon at my church this week. My friend, Andy, is our newest pastor, and he gave a gang-busters sermon on how what we think is “the good life” is pretty much the opposite. And, how, what we assume will be dull and boring and tepid – the life of a follower of Jesus – is actually the life of adventure we seek. The life spent following Jesus is a life of meaning, purpose, challenge, love, and fun.
Hundreds of years before Jesus, the people of Joel’s time had sought those things but found bitter wine instead. They’re not so different from any of us today, though. We mistake sensuality for sensibility, feelings for affections, posing for purpose. The Israelites, and we, searched all their lives for meaning, and, like us, they didn’t find it. So they tried to escape. Pick your poison: liquor, drugs, sex, spending, work: any one of them could be the intoxicant of choice that’ll help you avoid the world around you.
Until it’s too late. Until you’re like a driver on the road who sees the barrier too late. Or the man who loses it all because he was too lost in his work, his golf game, his diversions. Or the woman who fills up every spare minute to avoid the loneliness that comes with so much of modern living. It’s almost like we’re drunkards, dulled so that we don’t see the calamities building all around us.
For more reading: Isaiah 24:7, Joel 1:6
Oh Lord, please help me avoid the fate of the drunkard. Help me to wise up, to follow you instead of every shooting star
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