A gracious God (Joel 2:13-2:14)

“Return to Yahweh!

Your God!

He is gracious!

He is merciful!

He is slow to anger!

He is abounding

In steadfast love!

He relents

From punishing.

Who knows

Whether he will not turn?

Who knows

Whether he will not relent?

Leave a blessing

Behind him!

Leave a grain offering!

Leave a drink offering

For Yahweh!

Your God!”

Joel continued with the same theme. They should return to Yahweh. Joel used the ancient words about God as gracious and merciful, since Yahweh was slow to get angry. He was abounding in steadfast love. He did not punish easily. Will he return? Will he relent? Your best shot was to leave a blessing, like a grain or drink offering for Yahweh, their God. Clearly, Joel was tied to the Temple, since he considered the grain and drink offering as a blessing.

Steadfast love (Hos 6:6-6:6)

“I desire steadfast love,

Not sacrifice.

I desire the knowledge of God,

Rather than burnt offerings.”

This is the essential message of Hosea. Yahweh wanted real faithful love, not mere sacrifices. He wanted the Israelites to have real knowledge of God, rather than worry about burnt offerings.

The confession of sins (Dan 9:4-9:6)

“I prayed

To the Lord!

My God!

I made a confession.

I said.

‘O Lord!

Great God!

Awesome God!

You keep the covenant!

You have a steadfast love

With those

Who love you,

With those

Who keep your commandments!

We have sinned!

We have done wrong!

We have acted wickedly!

We have rebelled!

We have turned away

From your commandments,

From your ordinances!

We have not listened

To your servants,

The prophets,

Who spoke

In your name,

To our kings,

To our princes,

To our ancestors,

To all the people

Of the land.’”

Daniel personally prayed to God with this first-person singular confession of sins. However, he quickly reverted to the first-person plural “we” from the singular “I.” God was great and awesome. He had kept his covenant with a steadfast love to those who loved him and kept his commandments. However, they had sinned and done wrong. They had acted wickedly. They had rebelled and turned away from his commandments and ordinances. They had not listened to their prophets, kings, princes, ancestors, or even the people of the land.

Yahweh has compassion (Lam 3:31-3:33)

Kaph

“Yahweh will not

Reject forever.

Although he causes grief,

He will have compassion

According to the abundance

Of his steadfast love.

He does not willingly

Afflict anyone.

He does not willingly

Grieve anyone.”

This grieving author talks about the compassion of Yahweh, since Yahweh was not going to reject him forever. Yahweh definitely caused him grief, but he is compassionate with his abundant steadfast love. Then in a strange statement that almost contradicts what was said earlier, this author proclaims that Yahweh does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone. In fact, that had been the main complaint earlier in this poem. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Kaph in this acrostic poem.

The restoration of joy and worship (Jer 33:11-33:11)

“There shall once more

Be heard

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

The voices of those who sing,

As they bring thank offerings

To the house of Yahweh.

‘Give thanks

To Yahweh of hosts!

Yahweh is good!

His steadfast love

Endures forever!’

I will restore the fortunes

Of the land

As at first.’

Says Yahweh.”

However, there would be a total reversal of fortune. One of the favorite remarks about the desolation, as found in chapters 7, 16, and 25 of this work, was about no more voices of rejoicing with mirth or gladness when the voice of the bride, the bridegroom, and those singing would not be heard. Here it is the restoration of these merry making activities. They will have weddings and singing as they bring their offerings to the Temple, the house of Yahweh. Because Yahweh is good, his steadfast love endures forever. Thus he will restore the fortunes of this land to the way that it was.

The true boasting in glory (Jer 9:23-9:24)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Do not let the wise

Boast in their wisdom!

Do not let the mighty

Boast in their might!

Do not let not the wealthy

Boast in their wealth!

But let those who boast,

Boast in this!

They understand me.

They know me.

I am Yahweh.

I act with steadfast love.

I act with justice.

I act with righteousness in the earth.

In these things,

I delight.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh warns, via Jeremiah, that the wise should not boast in their wisdom. The mighty should not boast in their might. The wealthy should not boast in their wealth. If they want to boast it should be in understanding and knowing Yahweh. He should be their boast, because he acts with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness. Yahweh delights in those things.

There will be no more destruction (Isa 54:9-54:10)

“This is

Like the days of Noah to me.

Just as I swore

That the waters of Noah

Should never again

Go over the earth,

I have sworn

That I will not be angry with you.

I will not rebuke you.

The mountains may depart.

The hills me be removed.

But my steadfast love

Shall not depart from you.

My covenant of peace

Shall not be removed.

So says Yahweh,

Who has compassion on you.”

Second Isaiah explains that there would be no more destruction for Israel. Citing the days of Noah, Yahweh has sworn that he would not destroy the earth with water again. Thus he said that he would not be angry or rebuke the people of Israel again. Yahweh says that the mountains and hills could fall, but his steadfast love would remain. His covenant of peace would not be removed, because he had compassion on Israel.