The heartbreaking headlines read things like:
Extent of Tennessee wildfire damage revealed; at least 13 killed
Out of the smoke has risen another headline:
BURNED BIBLE PAGE FOUND IN DOLLYWOOD FIRE
You may have already seen a picture of the burned Bible page, since it’s probably been shared a million times by now.
Isaac McCord, working at Dollywood, was cleaning a spot in Craftsman Valley with his coworker when he saw a piece of paper in a puddle.
The edges were burned, but much of the page was preserved. It was from the first chapter in the Book of Joel, King James Version, of the Bible. Verses 15, 19, 20 and chapter 2 verse 1 were clearly preserved. Isaac broke into tears after reading the passage. He transcribed what he could read as follows:
Joel 1:15 The day of the LORD is near, the day when destruction comes from the Almighty. How terrible that day will be!
Joel 1:19 To you, LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
Joel 1:20 Even the beasts of the field pant for you because the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Joel 2:1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand
Out of, 1,189 Chapters, 23,145 verses, in the Bible, one page; a few short verses, were preserved. The content couldn’t be more relevant.
What are the odds?
Do you know what Joel was talking about?
The passage is a warning. “The day of the LORD is near…”
It’s a call to repentance. “To you, LORD, I call…”
It’s a call to unified action… “Blow the trumpet…”
The book of Joel is quoted by Peter: “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…” on the day of Pentecost. The day the Holy Spirit descended like, tongues of fire (Acts 2). It’s the day Jesus spoke about when the disciples would be “endued with Power from on High” (Luke 24:49). That day about 3,000 were saved in one sermon, by a fisherman. Many consider that day to be the start of the Christian Church.
The Hebrew name for Joel; Yo’el means: Yahweh Is God.
Joel writes about when disaster struck without warning. An ominous black cloud descended upon the land—the dreaded locust. In a matter of hours, every living green thing was stripped bare. Joel, God’s spokesman, proclaimed the plague was judgment for sin.
Yet, Joel declared, as bad as it was, future judgments will make that plague pale by comparison. In that day (which is yet to come) God will destroy His enemies, but bring unparalleled blessing to those who faithfully obey Him.
God uses Joel to say “I will restore the years…” destroyed by “My great army which I sent among you.” Even though it was your own fault, it was your own sin that caused the great army of devourers to succeed against you—even still, I will forgive; I will restore all that has been taken…even the years.
God, who never changes, still longs to restore, still calls out. Even in the midst of the burning, devouring chaos, there is hope. Although, this Scripture was written to Israel many years ago, it was also written to us, today, especially today.
Other fires are started this time of year, millions of them, on purpose, for another reason, a good reason. Folks around the globe are lighting the first candle of Advent—the hope candle.
iluvu & pray4u every.single.day
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