The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel. An Invasion of Locusts. Joel 1:1
We’re going old-school for awhile. We’re going into the Old Testament to spend some time with Joel, one of the “minor prophets” whose book appears toward the end of the OT. It’s sandwiched in-between Hosea and Amos; open your Bible and read for yourself. It won’t take you long: Joel is only three chapters long.
You’ll find that the book describes invasion of locusts (meaning times of great strife and anguish), and how the grace of God pours down on us throughout. It describes the return of Jesus. In fact, at Pentecost (as recorded in Acts 2), the apostle Peter quoted Joel by saying, “No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Peter was in the last days. You and I: we may be in the last days. Only time will tell. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. That’s the good stuff at the end of the book. Before then, there are hard truths we need to face together. Just like the Israelites of Joel’s day, the people of our world are in a pretty bad way.
Not much known about Joel. Joel may have lived around the time of Hosea and Amos, or during the time after the Babylonian exile, when Israel returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. He may also have lived during the time of Elisha, approximate 300 years before. No matter when he lived, the word of the Lord – prophecy and truth from the Word Himself – came to Joel and he started speaking. Joel’s name even means “one to whom Yahweh (God’s name) is God”.
Joel’s book is kinder, gentler than the other prophets, some of whom breathe fire and brimstone. Yet Joel’s message is also stark, one we need to heed right now. Tribulation and judgment await us; Jesus is coming back; are we ready? To be honest, most of us aren’t, not when ¾ of the planet doesn’t follow Jesus. Join me over the next few weeks as we search for answers with Joel.
For more reading: Jeremiah 1:2, Acts 2:16, Joel 1:2
Lord, bless my understanding of the book of Your prophet, Joel
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