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Joel's Timeless Message

Joel was a prophet to Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel, from about 835 to 796 BC. His name means "Yahweh (Jehovah) is God." In the book named for him, Joel warned of a devastating four-fold plague of locusts covering the land. They would devour everything in sight - all of the plants that the people treasured and used for food. The land would be devastated. Joel explained to the people that this was a judgment from God and it would be but a shadow of coming judgments and of the great and final judgment called ‘the Day of the Lord."

Why would God send such a judgment? The people of Judah had become accustomed to sin. Their physical and moral senses had become dull. Sin (unrighteousness, rebelling against God) had become so common place that, in their eyes, it seemed to be normal conduct. They were no longer offended by obvious sinful behavior.

The more we accept sinful behavior, the more we see it and allow it, the more it seems normal. Our own moral compass becomes flawed.

God sometimes sends calamity to get our attention but He never sends it without first sending His prophets to warn us and to tell us what to do to escape the devastation. Today we have the Bible, preachers, and even godly friends who serve that purpose.

In Joel 1:14-19, Joel called for a national fast. This was to be a period of time when no food was eaten giving the people time to approach God in humility and sorrow over sin. They would pray for His forgiveness and blessing.

In Joel 2:15-17, Joel called for a national day of prayer. Everyone was to take part; children, elders, and even brides and grooms were to put off their honeymoon to gather with the priests and leaders of the nation. Nothing was more important. They were to seek God in earnest prayer and to ask Him for forgiveness and to turn aside the judgment they deserved.

It seems that the people of Judah heeded Joel's warning and followed his call for repentance. God showed them mercy. Joel tells of the terrible swarms being removed and scattered in the desert.

Joel’s book is more than a forewarning of judgment, for there are great promises in it for those who believe.

In Joel 2:25 God says "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten." After we repent (admit the sin and turn away from it) and get to know God, it becomes apparent that many hardships and wasted years were caused by our own willful disobedience. When we repent, God promises to repay us for those years. With receiving the promised Holy Spirit, our hearts and minds will become so full of God's riches that the sorrow of the wasted years will be completely forgotten.

In Joel 2:32, Joel says that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
There is no distinction of class, race or nationality. Everyone has the right to God’s mercy and redemption.

As with most prophets, upon studying Joel’s message, it is sobering to see that it has as much meaning for us today as it did for the people of Judah in 835 BC.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Lynne Chapman. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lynne Chapman. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lynne Chapman for details.


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