Today I read and listened to the book of Joel, which is one of the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament in the Bible. It is only 3 chapters, so it is a pretty fast read. Here are a few quick thoughts I had while listening to Joel.
I took a whole class on the Minor Prophets in college, but that was about 12 years ago. I have not done a serious study of these books since then, and I have to admit that I was wondering “What in the world is this talking about?” while listening to the 1st chapter. A little research would be beneficial to help me remember the historical context of Joel.
WARNINGS AGAINST GOD’S ENEMIES
Like many Biblical prophets, Joel reminds me that I do not want to get on God’s bad side. Furthermore, your nation does not want to get on God’s bad side and face His vengeance. I have legitimate concern that our nation will eventually push our luck with God too far and face serious ramifications. For all the great things about America, we are a rather sinful nation, even a place where many sins are not only accepted but celebrated. Even more so in recent years there has been a growing attack on Christianity by our culture, media and many politicians. I fear that all of this behavior can only go on for so long before there are consequences. Joel reminded me of that today.
Locusts sound awful. I really hope that we are never cursed with a plague of locusts!
RETURN TO GOD
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
Who knows? He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing.
No matter how bad we have been, personally and collectively, we can still repent and turn back to God. Like any loving Father, God does not find joy in punishing His children or sending destruction on people. How quickly could things be changed for the better through simple repentance?
When God is with you, great things happen!
QUESTIONS ON NUTRITION
Next I was struck by Joel 2:19…
The Lord replied to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully;
The reason this particular verse got me thinking actually was pretty personal and has nothing to do with the rest of Joel’s message. About 9 months ago I started eating a low carb high fat diet, and while I have not been perfect (I took 2 months off during the holidays and gained a bunch of weight.), I have developed a real appreciation and and taste for real, natural foods. The particular all-natural diet plan that I started following is known as the “Primal Diet,” which is a variation of the more widely known Paleo Diet. Click here to read about my early experiences with the LCHF diet. While I firmly believe in cutting out processed foods, chemically modified foods, excess sugar, etc. in order to eat healthier and fight my own problems with weight gain and obesity, one aspect of the Paleo and Primal Diets that has always bugged me is how they are against all grains.
Cutting out wheat and grains is obvious for those who have legitimate, medically tested gluten allergies, but I struggle to take a firm stance against any foods that are mentioned throughout the Bible. What foods are mentioned in the Bible more than bread and grains? They are everywhere! Reading Joel simply reminded me of this, and the fact that the foods God was sending to satisfy His people fully do not include any meats or vegetables (which make up the majority of my nutrition) is troubling to me. I like that He was sending olive oil as well, as healthy oils and fats make up a huge part of my diet. Wine is healthy too, although LCHF diets are generally anti-fruit juice because they include all the sugar and none of the fiber of fruit.
Anyways, I have read a ton, and I think it has become clear that the modern world’s heavy reliance on processed foods and carb-heavy diets has led to unprecedented obesity rates and a whole slew of health problems, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes, etc. So who is right, Paleo or the Bible? I Googled it to see what other people have to say on the matter, and I found some encouraging blogs and articles from people who have had this same conflict of conscience as me.
Wellnessmama.com does a great job at providing some answers…
The major point is that today’s grains have been so genetically modified in the lab that they do not resemble the same grains they used in the Bible. Also the bread we buy at the grocery store is nothing like the bread they ate in the Bible. I could go on and on, but what it comes down to is that we have taken something that may have once been healthy and nutritionally fulfilling and warped it into something that is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Also if we live by the New Covenant, we are not held to Old Testament food laws, and we are free to eat what we want. As a Christian who feels called to honor and respect my body as a temple of God, I believe that I should avoid certain things in today’s food culture.
JOEL 3 – END TIMES
The final chapter of Joel sounds like some end-of-time warnings against those who are enemies of the Lord. Once again I could use a commentary to help me better understand all the references that Joel is making, but it sure sounds like he is referring to end-times. There is some scary stuff waiting for God’s enemies. This is yet another strong reminder that you do not want to be on the wrong side when judgment day comes!