Book 29 of the OT, having 3 chapters. Joel was probably the author of this minor prophetic book recorded during his ministry from 835-796 BC. It was written to the people of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, to warn of impending judgment because of sin, and to urge them to turn back to God. Elisha was also a prophet during much of this time. Time to read: 15 mins.
Key people: Joel, the people of Judah.
Outline. The people had become prosperous and had neglected to live for God, turning again to idolatry and sin. He exhorted them to awaken from their complacency by fasting and seeking God, using the term “the day of the Lord” to describe extraordinary happenings that would come (Joel 1:15, 2:1,11, 3:14). Joel moves from prophecy about the approaching judgment of God to the Spirit’s outpouring of forgiveness and blessing relating to the last days – prior to the last “day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31).
Main lesson. Joel predicted a plague of locusts would devastate the land, but this would be only be a foretaste of greater devastation if they stubbornly refused to heed the warnings, ignoring his messages rather than repenting and going God’s way and being blessed. Genuine repentance involves a change of heart not just an outward response (Joel 2:13). Do I understand the seriousness of rebellion, lack of sensitiveness and response to His voice?
Key verses and thoughts: * “I will restore [give you back] what the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25). While there is a period of discipline (punishment or reaping the consequences of sin), the God of justice will bring about restoration after the sin issue has been dealt with. Correction is painful but it ultimately reaps beneficial results (Heb 12:11). After the pain comes the gain.
* “I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Joel 2:28,29). Although this manifestation of God’s power and supernatural ability began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, it will continue until the day Jesus returns (Act 2:16-21). The Holy Spirit indwells all truly born-again believers, empowering us, to the degree in which we yield, to live in harmony with Jesus – which is the complete opposite to the world’s sin-biased, selfish lifestyle. We determine the level of transformation that occurs as it is our responsibility to “put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires…and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9). The Holy Spirit is given that we might be witnesses for Christ, and continue to be His representatives on earth. Are we content to keep this good news to ourselves or do we share with others?
* “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved...multitudes in the valley of decision” (Joel 2:32, 3:14). Salvation is a gift, freely given to whoever avails themselves of God’s offer. However, before any of the multitudes of people currently outside God’s kingdom can make an informed choice they need to be given the facts concerning this, the most important decision of life – to accept Christ’s forgiveness, follow Him and spend eternity in Heaven, or reject His offer and suffer for their sins forever in Hell. The question is, have we shared the gospel with our loved ones and those in ‘our world’ in a manner that enables them to understand the seriousness of sin, its consequence and the solution available in Christ? Our lifestyle and actions must consistently backup our words to be a valid presentation.
See also: day of the Lord, Elisha, Holy Spirit, prophet, restitution/restore, salvation.