The Book of Joel
Spirit Life Fellowship offers a Ministerial Preparation Program for members wanting to become licensed ministers. One of the many assignments for this year’s class was to read and write about a book from the Bible. The following is one of the articles written by a program participant. It is an example of how we have to read and study the Word not just for what it was when it was written, but what it means to us today. It is a living Word that always has something to teach us.
Joel’s name means “The Lord is God.” He was the son of Pethuel. Joel was a prophet to Judah and Jerusalem (Joel 1:1). “Hear this, ye old men, and give ear” (Joel 1:2). The people of God had been overwhelmed by a plague of locusts (Joel 1:4). Joel believed that God had permitted this plague because of Judah’s sin. The elders and the people needed to repent and turn to the Lord (Joel 1:5).
Being a drunkard is the only sin mentioned by Joel. When people are drunk, they don’t realize what is going on around them. They are dull to the things that are happening. The Bible says because of the new wine that was “cut off from your mouth”, they didn’t realize that God was not pleased with their offering. Today, if we are not careful, we can become dull to the presence of God and think we’re in good standing with Him. But we actually need to repent with prayers and fasting to be in the presence of God where we belong (Joel 1:14-15).
The day of the Lord is a major point in this book. It refers to a present judgment of God on His people and God’s final judgment at the end of time (Joel 2:1-11). Sound the alarm – the Lord is coming. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. We must have the right spirit before God, with fear and trembling and a contrite heart (Joel 2:13). Call for a broken and contrite heart. God calls us to sincerely repent. In Joel 2:17, it says when we see God’s people hurting we should lead the way and turn to God with a broken heart, weeping and intense. Pray and believe. We are all ministers and we are all supposed to be our brothers’ keepers.
When God’s people humble themselves and truly seek God in prayer and turn from their wicked ways, God hears from heaven and reverses His judgment. He will renew the land and pour out His blessing (Joel 2:18-20). America needs this, so pray for our own country. Joel 2:26 says, “And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.” This is the reward for repentance. But if we become arrogant and return to sin, God’s blessing will stop and judgment will follow. In Joel 2:28-29, Joel predicts a day when God will pour out His spirit on whoever will call on His name. This is an outpouring that will be a mighty flow of the spirit of God -- prophetic manifestations among God’s people.
Peter explained on the day of Pentecost that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:14-21). This prophecy is a promise to all who accept Christ and Lord, for all believers can and should be filled with the Holy Spirit. When we look at world events, we know we are in the time of this prophecy (Joel 2:30-31). Thank God for His Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ (Joel 2:32).
This is about the last days (Joel 3:2). Joel refers to the valley of Jehoshaphat, which means “valley where the Lord judges”. It is also called the Valley of Decision in Joel 3:14. God will judge the nations for cruelty and for treating people as possessions (Joel 3:3-8). We must be careful how we treat other people. God will hold us accountable. God’s judgment is swift. The nations will be told to prepare for war (Joel 3:9-16). The Lord will destroy the wicked one. Those who are saved shall overcome, and the Lord is the hope of His people. The book ends with a promise (Joel 3:18-21). Jerusalem will be delivered and God’s blessing will be showered upon His people. God himself will dwell among His people with love and caring. The destruction of all ungodly in the world will come and those who do not repent will face God’s wrath. But those who repent shall be saved. God’s kingdom will prevail.
Danny Campbell is the Assistant Sunday School Superintendent and wears many other hats at Spirit Life Fellowship. He is currently in the Ministerial Preparation Program.
Posted on 08/16/2013 5:16 AM by Danny Campbell