Scriptures: Joel 1:5-12 & 2:12-27
Song of Praise: Doxology
The prophet Joel records a challenging time for the nations of Israel and Judah.
Masterfully, Joel delineates the future hope of God's people.
Steeped in waywardness, the people's hearts were far from God.
Because of their disregard of God and His law, famine took hold of the land.
Lack of grain and wine would have caused great turmoil and fear.
No grain or wine means no sacrifice in the temple.
As a result, they were suffering impaired fellowship with God.
Due to the droughts and pestilence, their offerings to God became rare. Fellowship with God was strained; the people of God became complacent and calloused.
The people were not repenting to God, or asking Him for renewed fellowship and blessing. They gave themselves over to drunkenness and foolish behavior.
It was into this context that Joel writes the hauntingly beautiful words,
"I will restore to you the years the locust has eaten".
The people of God have never been excellent with faithfulness. Thanks be to God, His covenantal faithfulness supersedes our fickle wills which jeopardize our fellowship.
God sent Joel to proclaim His restoration to the people of His covenant; later, He sent Jesus to proclaim the good news and restore all of His covenant people.
Joel's prophecy mirrors the restoration of God's invisible church.
All of God's elect, past, present, and future, are restored and bought back through the covenant faithfulness of Christ' atoning work on the Cross. Eternal fellowship has been restored by Christ, and our earthly feasting may continue, as that too mirrors the work that Jesus has accomplished.
Jesus not only restored fellowship between God and His bride, the elect, but He has also prepared a feast for His bride.
We consume and commune with God weekly when we partake of the Lord's Supper, and daily we are given bread to remind us of God's covenantal faithfulness.
Union with God is no longer contingent upon temple offerings, but on the finished work of Christ.
Jesus has restored to us the years the locust has eaten, and He extends His own body to us as a feast forever.
Table Talk Questions:
Should Israel and Judah have been afraid of God?
What was their attitude toward God when Joel first prophesied?
How does God restore the fellowship and feasting of His people forever?
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Meal: Zuppa Toscana, Farm-Style White Bread, No-Bake Oreo Dessert
Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes
1 pound ground Spicy Italian Sausage
8 slices Bacon, diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, peeled and diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon Flour
32 ounce Chicken Stock
4 large Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
1 cup bunch kale de-stemmed
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Pinch of Red Pepper flakes, optional
Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
Brown sausage, drain well, set to the side.
In the same soup pot, fry bacon is residual sausage grease until crisp, then set it aside with the sausage.
Drain all but 1- 1 ½ Table of bacon grease.
Add onion to pot and cook 5 minutes, then add garlic.
Sprinkle flour over onion and garlic in pot, then stir to combine into a roux.
Pour in chicken stock, stirring as you pour.
Add in potatoes and bring to boil.
Gently boil for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender.
Add in cooked sausage, bacon, heavy cream, and kale.
Stir and cook 5-10 minutes until kale is wilted.
Taste and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired.
Farm Style White Bread
Prep and Cook Time: 2 ½ hours
Yields: 2 loaves
4½ teaspoons Instant Yeast (two packets)
¾ cup + 2⅔ cups warm water, divided
¼ cup granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Butter, cubed, at room temperature
9 to 10 cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted, for brushing after they come out of the oven
In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast and ¾ cup warm water.
Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add in remaining ingredients. Mix well, kneading for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 balls and place them each in separate greased bowls, cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for about 40 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowls, and gently shape into two loaves. Place them into two prepared loaf pans, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rise a second time, until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
Bake at 350 F, until bread is golden brown and cooked to 190F internally.
Remove from the oven and spread the top of loaves with melted butter.
serve warm or cooled
No-Bake Oreo Dessert
Prep and Cook Time:
1 package Oreos
½ cup Butter, melted
8 ounce Cream Cheese, softened
1 (6.9 ounce) package Vanilla INSTANT Pudding
8 ounce Cool Whip
3 Cups Milk Total
1 Cup Sugar
Crush oreos and place in a 9x13 pan, saving a few for the topping.
Pour melted butter over oreos.
In a large bowl, mix pudding and milk together until it thickens.
Add softened cream cheese, sugar, and mix well.
Fold cool whip into pudding mixture and spread over oreos.
Sprinkle remaining crushed oreos on top.
Chill for 2-3 hours for best results.