Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thursday, October 6 2016: Joel 1-3 ~Cameron

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Joel 1-3

As with all imagery in writing, its impact is diminished over time and across cultures. And with much of prophesy written using metaphors or other symbolic language, we lose something in the translation. While the Truth of the scriptures is preserved, I wish I could more deeply appreciate the layers of meaning laid down in these verses.

For instance, anyone living in an ancient agricultural society would be deeply moved by Joel 1:4. Multiple swarms of locusts cutting a swath through the countryside leaving devastation behind. I read it and understand the writer is communicating a bleak period but the emotional impact is lost on me.

So here is a quick video of a locust catastrophe a few years ago in Madagascar. The video includes footage of a 15km long swarm of locusts that destroyed more than half of the island's crops!

Verses like this were written to invoke a visceral response from those hearing or reading them.
How can we read these passages and appreciate them as more than just words on a page?
Should we bother trying to do so?
Have you tried to do this and how has it worked out?

I have a men's bible study and we have often discussed how to do this. It all started with this verse:
"Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'" - Luke 9:62
We plan to take a field trip in spring and experience using a plowshare firsthand in order to better appreciate this verse.

I look forward to reading your answers in the comments below.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Malachi 1-4


Conrad said...

Good questions. With the passages of genealogy I do find it hard to muddle through and appreciate. And other times it is hard to appreciate the words, because as you mentioned, we don't have the experience to relate to the writing.

What I have tried to remember is that the words written in the Bible were God inspired. The thought that the authors were actually inspired by God is pretty awesome!

I also think that the fact you are going on a field trip is awesome too. Reading the Bible is not enough. We should also have the desire to understand it, and you are an example to me for that.

Tammy Reimer said...

That's a disturbing video all right - particularly to one who is not the biggest fan of locusts/grasshoppers to begin with! I'm sure pioneers from years ago would appreciate the significance and impact of that statement. Definitely an important remind that the context and culture of when the Bible was written is hugely important for us to grasp deeper meanings of the text.

This verse....
Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation. Joel 1:3

Our testimony is the powerful thing - to strangers as well as friends and family. Our life story can help our children repeat our successes and avoid our mistakes. We need to tell them! Proactive parenting is so important.