by J. Gerald Harris

Reflecting on the Solemn Assembly
Dr. J. Gerald Harris
Joel 2:12-19

Last week I indicated to you that there is a verse of Scripture that has been haunting me for some time. It is Psalm 66:18. Listen to the words of the psalmist: ''If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.'' My dear people, I want you to listen. God wants to do something. God is longing to do something. God is ready to do something, but ''if we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not...'' I mean, if there is iniquity in our hearts, there are certain things He will not do, because it would be inconsistent with His nature to do them. He is longing to bless, but if there is sin in the camp, He simply will not bless. He will not do what He wants to do. He will not do what He longs to do.

Last Wednesday night was the first part of a two-part message, and we talked about

In Joel's day, the people of the Lord were in the midst of a turmoil. They lived in a day of calamity and crisis. The land was devastated by an invasion of locusts. Food was scarce; the cattle were dying; organized society had collapsed; temple worship services had been suspended.

The great problem was not so much that the locusts had ruined the physical state of the nation, but that lethargy, faithlessness, indifference toward God had ruined the spiritual state of the nation.

There seems to be a parallel between Judah and Israel in Joel's day and America today. How can we ask God to bless America? Why, He would have to endorse sin to bless America. When our Supreme Court justices are making decisions and ruling against His principles -- the very principles upon which this country was founded; when this land has become a cesspool of pornography; when our social system upholds the rights of the homosexual; and when we have a growing philosophy that denies the very existence of God as Creator, we cannot ask a holy God to bless America.

But God has always had a rem ...

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