ODJ: Farming Hope

April 17, 2017 

READ: Joel 3:17-21 

In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk (v.18).

I’m not a farmer, but I once attempted to be one as the guest of a self-sustaining community. The group lived together in dormitories, eating their meals together as a family. They grew most of the food they consumed and raised cattle for milk and meat. During my stay I performed a number of barnyard chores, from shovelling dung to taking the old cow on her morning walk around the property—leash and all!

The ancient Hebrews understood both the hard work of farming and their dependence on creation. Their lifestyle was tied closely to agriculture. In order to survive, they depended upon the vitality of their produce, healthy livestock and the availability of fresh water. If a plague or enemy destroyed their crops, they despaired (Joel 1:2-20).

Joel 3:17-21 is a depiction of the future for all believers in Jesus. It refers to that hopefully-someday-soon time when God will completely eliminate wickedness and return His creation to peace and vitality in His presence (v.21). Joel illustrated this great day with agricultural images: sweet wine (vegetation, produce), milk (birth, cattle) and a fountain that waters arid places (v.18).

Although many of us probably buy our food without knowing the farmers who produce what we consume, we are all dependent on an earth that often struggles to be fruitful. But a time is coming when God will renew the earth for farming and provide an endless river of life (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 22:1-2). As Paul wrote, “With eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Romans 8:20-21). In whatever trial we’re facing, with whatever unmet need, we can place our trust in God. The future He’s preparing is full of hope and life!

—Andy Rogers

365-day plan: 1 Kings 12:1-24

“The day of the Lord” is a recurring phrase in the Bible. Read all of Joel 3, along with 2 Peter 3, and consider both the judgement and the hope of this incredible day. 
What trial are you facing today? Ask God for hope and provision as you face it. How does our future with Him encourage you?