歸向耶和華 RETURN TO GOD (Joel 約珥書 2:1-17)

祈禱:  神啊,有何神像你,赦免罪孽,饒恕你產業之餘民的罪過,不永遠懷怒,喜愛施恩?(彌七18)

PRAYER:  

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. (Micah 7:18)

讀經:  珥 二章1~17節

SCRIPTURE READING:  Joel 2:1-17

釋義:  當人遭遇災難的時候, 總想找出原因, 或許是自己犯罪、自食其果; 或許是別人闖禍; 或許是社會、國際紛爭。但先知卻指出, 這一切事情都是在神的掌管下運作: 「耶和華在他軍旅前發聲,他的隊伍甚大;成就他命的是強盛者。」(11)  蝗蟲、人、天災只不過是神的工具, 目的是要人歸向神。歸向神就是本段的主題:

INSIGHT:

When people encounter disasters, they are always asking for the reason why those things are happening.  Perhaps they sinned and were reaping what they have sown; maybe it was due to somebody else’s wrongdoing, maybe it was society’s fault or due to international disputes.

But the prophet pointed out that everything that happens is under God’s control: ” The Lord thunders

at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command. “(v. 11)   Locusts, human beings, and natural disasters are only God’s tools; the purpose is for people to return to God.  Returning to God is the main subject of this passage:

歸向神帶來盼望 — 不錯,「耶和華的日子大而可畏,誰能當得起呢?」(11)軟弱的人的確力有不逮, 但是神能人所不能, 不然祂就不比人強, 聖經說:「在人這是不能的,在神凡事都能。」(太十九26)所以先知鼓 勵人說:「即使現在,你們仍然可以……歸向」神(12), 「或者他轉意」(14), 會減緩災患。

The hope of returning to God — It’s true, “The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful.    Who can endure it?” (v. 11).  It is obvious that the strength of human beings is limited, but God can accomplish what man can’t; otherwise, He would be no better than man.  The Bible says:  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26).  Thus, the prophet encouraged the people by saying:  ” “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” (v. 12), “Who knows? He may turn and relent…” (v. 14), and diminish the severity of the disaster.

‚歸向神的表現 — 「你們要撕裂心腸,不撕裂衣服」(13)。歸向神最重要的固然是在於真誠, 正如聖經多次指出: 「這百姓親近我,用嘴唇尊敬我,心卻遠離我」(賽廿九13耶十二2太十五8), 單只有外表的宗教禮儀是假冒為善, 所以必須「一心歸向我」(12)。雖然如此, 歸向神就好像錢幣必定有兩面, 一面是真心、另外一面就是誠懇的表示。所以「耶和華說:雖然如此,你們應當禁食、哭泣、悲哀,一心歸向我」(12), 這正所謂有諸內者必形諸外, 耶穌明言好樹不能結壞果子、壞樹不能結好果子(太七18), 所以屬靈的必定有讀經祈禱的生活。

The manifestation of returning God – “Rend your heart and not your garments. ” (v.13).  

 It is important to be sincere when you return to God, as the Bible has stated many times: ” These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.   (Isaiah 29:13; Jeremiah 12: 2; Matthew 15: 8).   The outward appearance of religious etiquette is hypocrisy; therefore, it is necessary to “return to Me with all your heart.” (v. 12).  Nevertheless, turning to God is like a coin that has two sides, one side is being sincere and the other side is showing your sincerity.   “Even now,” declares the Lord,
  “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”   (v. 12).  What goes on in the inside shows on the outside.  Jesus said that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit (Matthew 7:18).  Thus, someone who is truly spiritual will for sure lead a prayerful life and be hungry for God’s word.

ƒ歸向神的結果 「他有恩典,有憐憫,不輕易發怒,有豐盛的慈愛,並且後悔不降所說的災。或者他轉意後悔,留下餘福……也未可知。」(13~14)這兩節提及的觀念, 在約拿到尼尼微城的經歷中也出現(拿一6; 三9~10; 四2)。約珥對神的盼望、希望神「或者」回心轉意, 約拿卻在外邦人中看見神後悔和赦免。因為神說:「我所說的那一邦,若是轉意離開他們的惡,我就必後悔,不將我想要施行的災禍降與他們。(耶十八8)

The result of returning to God — ” 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.”  (v.13 – 14) The concepts mentioned in these two verses also appear in Jonah’s experience in the city of Nineveh (Jonah 1:6; 3:9 -10; 4:2).  Joel hoped that God “may” turn and relent; Jonah indeed saw that God regretted what He was about to do and forgave the Gentiles.  Because God said, “If that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.” (Jeremiah 18:8)

by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung