In these days of COVID-19, plenty of people are asking if the virus is a judgment from God, if he is sending a message to us.

I recorded this conversation on the book of Joel with Paul House, professor of Old Testament at Beeson Divinity School, prior to the spread of the virus. But his points have proved timely. Disasters, he says, should cause us to ask, “What have we as a people and a nation been doing? It certainly hasn’t been looking to the Lord. . . . These are meant to get people to repent.”

House presents the book as Joel preaching on Deuteronomy 28 and Exodus 34, using vivid imagery to warn of the awful reality of God’s judgments. Joel calls the people of God to turn toward God, assuring them that “even now, if they return to the Lord with all their heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning, he will be gracious and merciful and relent from disaster.” House offers insight on the locusts, the meaning of the the Day of the Lord, and how to present the mercy of Christ for sinners from the pages of Joel.

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