“Wake up, you drunkards, and weep! Wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.”
God gives us all things richly to enjoy. We take His blessings and enjoy them, but we can find ourselves using and abusing them for the feeding of our own desires. Things that are a blessing can become a curse to us. Alcohol is mentioned here as something that people do to excess and indulge themselves in its pleasures. The people have become so indulgent that they are called “drunkards” by the Lord, for they have replaced the love of God for the love of substances. This could be applied to almost anything. Some indulge in food, shopping, inappropriate romances, family bonds, internet games, films, violence… almost anything can take that treasured place close to our Almighty God. We can find ourselves valuing anything more that Him and not to delight to draw near to him in personal fellowship.
The people of God in this time of Joel are indulging themselves in ungodly living and enjoying themselves to the detriment of their devotion and service to God. God calls out to them about their preoccupations and shouts at them to waken up. He has now suddenly taken away the thing that is fascinating them and is putting them in very uncomfortable circumstances. All the streams of their pleasures have now dried up and they are left in the cold light of day. God tells them to weep. They are to come to their senses and realise what has happened to them and seek the Lord. Their pleasures are gone and their temptations are evaporated and they now face the cold reality of their situation before God.
We can find ourselves in this dilemma quite easily, when we stop examining our hearts and motives every day and stop keeping short accounts with God. We easily slide into indulgent behaviours and soon find that the pleasures of this life take over from our delight in God. We stop thinking about Him, or don’t have the time to spend with Him and become hardened to the delights of His presence, becoming happy with the good things of this life and spiritual exercise and activities become tedious to us. Before long we fall away and become lackadaisical about our spiritual life and we find ourselves attracted to the things we need to avoid. Often we fall into some sin, as a temptation comes along and we easily succumb, for it seems attractive to us. Our defences are down, for we have laid off our spiritual life with God and the world and our sinful self takes over.
It can happen so quickly and so effortlessly, for it is our natural inclination. The fires of our spiritual life need the daily attention and fellowship with the Lord our God, if we are to be over-comers.
The people of God have found themselves in this state and are now suffering the discipline of their Lord, as he seeks to divert them from worse consequences of their sinful mindset and life style. They have avoided the weeping for their sin, and now they have it in a great amount. Weeping over our weaknesses and failures is a healthy place to be, and we can bring them to the Lord for He will abundantly pardon us and give us the strength to be victorious. God will bring His people into a good place again, but for the moment, it is time to face up and take account of what is happening.