Shortages Today

Medical gear, toilet paper, and other shortages

In early spring 2020 much of the global economy is facing shortages of medical gear, food, and other items due to concerns over a new virus pandemic sweeping through humanity. Some countries are in serious trouble due to this pandemic while others are issuing a variety of mandates to limit physical interaction with fellow humans hoping  to  stop or limit the spread of this virus. Unfortunately, hoarding behavior is occurring even though authorities are saying it isn’t necessary.

This week my husband attempted to acquire a new basic thermometer since the one we have is showing signs of not working well. Eight stores later he still couldn’t acquire one. Several days later, same story. Online shopping reveals shortages of basic thermometers as well.

How should we respond to these shortages?

Does the Bible give us any guidance in situations like these?

Joel 1:4 describes for its audience not just a temporary shortage, but an utter destruction of their edible vegetation supply caused by an army of locusts. This meant that both human and animal life was in a precarious state.

Can you imagine looking out your window in spring 2020 and not seeing anything green around you?

  • No leaves on the trees.
  • No spring bulbs beginning to flower.  
  • Zero food bearing plants growing.

This is the visual image of Joel 1:4.

Thankfully, the pandemic of 2020 has not reached such a dire situation as of Joel 1:4 as of this writing but how we respond now will determine what the weeks to come will look like.

What is Joel’s first advice for their shortage?

ESV  Joel 1:5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep, and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.

Who is being called out in this verse?

First Joel singles out drunkards. defines drunkard as a person who is habitually or frequently drunk. Often drunkenness is portrayed as a means of escape from reality. With the grapevines destroyed those who habitually imbibe will no longer have this means available. Reality is going to hit this people group hard.

But Joel also mentions all drinkers of wine.  Aside from Nazirites who had taken a specific vow to abstain from wine (see Num 6:1-4) or the followers of Jonadab ben Rechab (see Jer 35:1-14), everyone else in Joel’s day would have drank wine at least occasionally.

Essentially then, everyone in the community is being called to heed the message.

What are they being told to do?

  • Wake up!
    • The vines that grow the fruit that make the wine they drink have been literally cut away by ravaging locusts.
  • Weep and Wail!
    • This is an instruction to appropriately express one’s distress over the precarious situation.

How can we apply this verse to our situation in Spring 2020?

  • Share your heart with the Lord over the issues at play and pray for all leaders across the globe to have the wisdom they need to guide their people.
  • Abide by government and CDC guidelines in protecting yourself, your family, and your neighbors.
  • Pray for and seek out creative ways to help those in greater need than you.
  • Be willing to receive help from others if you need assistance.
  • Guard against hoarding behavior.
  • Guard against apathy or denial.

How can we apply this verse to day to day living when there aren’t shortages or mandates to avoid public gatherings?

  • Continue sharing your heart with the Lord and praying for all leaders.
  • Continue practicing responsible hygiene when well or ill.
  • Continue praying for and seeking out creative ways to help those in greater need than you.
  • Continue to be willing to receive help from others if you need assistance.
  • Continue guarding against hoarding behavior.
  • Continue guarding against apathy or denial.

Is there any difference between the two lists above? Should there be?

What else do you see in Joel 1:5 that encourages, motivates, or challenges you today?


Barbara Lynn

Related Posts:

Names and Their Meaning: Joel 1:1

Breaking News : Joel 1:2

Sharing Stories : Joel 1:3

Current Crisis : Joel 1:4

2 Replies to “Shortages Today”

  1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
    I see the lists as practical and preferable standards of action for any time, whether in want or in plenty. The Levitical laws touch on some of the lists’ contents and the behavior of Christians should be in accordance with reality-not culture or society but reality. There is a sense in which one can be a drunkard without even a drinking problem when one arranges their lifestyle outside the confines of reality. In that sense Joel is speaking to others beyond imbibers. In short, “y’all keep your head on straight” is in verse 5.

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