"God Pursues Judah"
Joel 1:1-14; 2:12-14, 18, 25-32
The book of Joel is in the section of the Old Testament referred to as prophetical … it is one of the Minor Prophets.
Little is known about the author beyond 1:1.
NO clear date can be affirmed for the writing of Joel (makes little difference to the interpretation of the book).
The theme of the book is “the Day of the LORD.”
The “Day of the LORD” references a past, present, and future event.
Joel was called to utter God’s message to Jerusalem in the midst of a devastating locust plague … the locust represented an invading army … the prophecy contained a call to prayer and repentance … God would ultimately bring judgment the invading armies and deliverance and blessing on Israel.
Joel called Jerusalem to confess their sin; and to be broken hearted over that which had brought the judgment of God
The “Day of the LORD” references both the judgment of God and God’s ultimate deliverance of Israel based in His covenant.
“Having warned his people of all the horrors that accompany the Day of the Lord, Joel finally pointed them forward to the ultimate day. Here he joined all the prophets in pointing to God’s mysterious will to make himself known to all the world and to restore justice, holiness, and true worship to his creation … Joel sets out a promise: God has a plan to protect, preserve, and bring praise to Jerusalem while bringing just punishment upon His enemies.” (Holman Old Testament Commentary).
The “Day of the LORD,” still future for us, holds both joy and judgment; judgment for those who have rejected the Lord, and joy for the redeemed of God.
It speaks of the “Day” when God will ultimately cast out evil and establish His kingdom of righteousness.
The “locust” of Joel exemplify those who would persecute the believers today.
The hope offered by Joel to Jerusalem corresponds to the hope that belongs to the believer; one day God will avenge the saint of those who persecuted them.
While God is patient, He doesn’t wink at injustice; a payday is coming … “vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”
God will respond to repentance … “Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
Repentance is not just feeling bad about your sin, but turning from your sin … it is more than stopping something, it is starting something ….. “I turn from my sin by turning to the Savior.”
In the Old Testament people demonstrated their repentance with outward manifestations such as, crying, fasting, wearing sackcloth, and covering themselves in ashes … how would repentance be manifested today?
God promised through Joel to pour out His Holy Spirit upon the people … what is the difference between the Holy Spirit’s presence and ministry in the Old and New Testaments? IN the Old Testament the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was for a specific event and was not permanent; in the New Testament it is for the enabling of the believer and is permanent.
NOTE: While we may not forget our sin – following repentance we no longer live with the guilt of sin. Repentance doesn’t mean, however, that the consequences are completely removed.
The Believer’s Responsibility: To speak of the judgment and tell of God’s graciousness, calling people to repentance.
God is holy … and He will judge sin. God cannot lie and He will fulfill His covenant of redemption.
God offers the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ to all “who call upon the name of the Lord.”
Proclaim the judgment of God while calling on sinners to repent and receive the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ.