So, how did I preach about “Helicopter gunships in Joel“?
As I said, this was part of a series on “How to Read the Bible” and though the sermon was on Joel 2:5-8 the title was “The Bible is NOT a code book… the Bible means what it says“.
I’m uploading my presentation and an audio recording of the sermon (as whole “slides” rather than with some bullet points and images appearing sequentially to save bandwidth as I am using a borrowed connection this week, for the same rerason the audio is AMR rather than MP3) so you can get a feel for the sermon:
Basically I suggested:
- that there are three dominant pictures in Joel of a disaster: Locust plague, drought and invading army, and that these images shift from one to another through the book (even perhaps within a verse). This provides fertile ground for the “code-breakers”, but if the Bible “means what it says”, then it should not be impossibly difficult to understand without esoteric knowledge.
- that looking at the cotext (a previous sermon pointed out the importance of lookin g at the text around the passage) provides all the clues we need
- so, the opening of the chapter tells us these pictures concern the “day of the Lord” – a time when God would intervene to put right what was wrong
- and those that follow (Joel 2:12-14) tell Joel’s hearers that they are part of the problem and must truely repent – mere words or ritual actions are not enough
- if they/we do then we may discover the God who “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing”.
The Bible is not a code book, but clear, it means what it says, and contains good news!