There Is No Other

By Sherry Black

A Reading from Joel 2:21-27

21 Do not fear, O soil;
be glad and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things!
22 Do not fear, you animals of the field,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit;
the fig tree and vine give their full yield.

23 O children of Zion, be glad,
and rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the later rain, as before.
24 The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

25 I will repay you for the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army that I sent against you.

26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel
and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.


In today’s reading we see Yahweh’s response to Israel’s calamity: the soil is restored, and the animals have food to eat; the trees bear fruit, as do the grape vines. The people are called to be glad, because God is restoring their land. Plentiful rains erase the ravages of draught, and the years the locusts devoured have been repaid. There is more than enough food to provide satiety.

Yet even more profound is the reality that it is God who has done this. There is no longer any shame in Israel, because God has restored the land; it is God in Israel bringing healing to the land. “You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord (Yahweh) am your God and there is no other.”

The Baals and the Asherahs and the household gods are mute. It is only the God of the Israelites, Yahweh, who speaks with his people, who lives in their midst. That is even more true with Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us: “the Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, The Message).

As Israel experienced the devastation of locusts and drought, they were not ultimately destroyed. We too are not immune to disaster, illness, the death of a loved one, or even natural disasters, yet through all the challenges we face, God is with us. Yahweh is personal. And the promise of God in Christ is that God will be with us and will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

Thanks be to God.

The Very Rev. Sherry Black is a second-career Episcopal priest, and has been a full-time hospital chaplain for ten years. She also serves a small mission church as priest-in-charge, and is dean of her deanery.

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Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Western Newfoundland – The Anglican Church of Canada
St. Martin’s by the Lake Episcopal Church, Minnetonka Beach, Minnesota


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