The Spirit's Power
The Prophet, Joel
Not much is known about Joel; he was the son of Pethuel, and nothing is known of Pethuel. Joel was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom, the Kingdom of Judah, and his prophesies correlate with those of Elisha as Elisha was prophesying in the Northern Kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel, around the same time as Joel.
Joel uses a prophesy of an army of locusts to analogize a prophesy of an army of Israel's enemies. Just as the locusts will come and destroy the land and its crops, the enemy armies will come and leave the land of Israel is total desolation.
The people are urged to repent.
In Joel 1:1-12, there are several sects of people that are called to repentance. The only way God can use anyone for His divine purpose is if they ask forgive and repent, and, then, strive to daily walk in obedience to His will. This shows faith and trust in a God who is our Creator, our Savior, our Messiah, our Redeemer, our Friend.
- In verses 1 and 2, the elders are called to prostrate themselves before God. It was, in those days, the responsibility of the older generation to orally profess the tradition and history of their people. It is the older generation who was responsible to alert the younger generation to the need to ask for forgiveness and to repent.
- In verses 2 and 3, we read that, although the older generation had the responsibility to pass down their rich heritage, traditions and history, it is the younger generation, as well, that is responsible for the hearing and doing of the Word of God to fulfill their side of the contract made with God. God said that if they would be His people, He would be their God. Joel is letting the people know, both old and young, that they have failed to keep their side of the contract.
- In verses 5 thru 7, the drunkards are told that, due to the devastation of the plague of locusts, their later crops of grapes in their vineyards would have nothing in them to harvest. Drinking, social and private, had become such a severe problem in the nation of Israel that the prophet let loose the prophesy on the drunkards. They could whine all they wanted about not having their wine; but, it would be to no avail.
- In verse 8thru 12, we read how Joel takes the prophesy of the plague of locusts as an army to destroy their produce crops so that there would be no harvest and he likens it unto an army of the enemies of Israel totally devour the people of Israel through carnage, death, destruction and desolation.
- In verse 9, we read specifically of the priests who would find themselves in mourning because they would be without their wares and fares (their flour, wine, oil, etc.) due to the destructive nature of the locusts. The priests had become greedy; the more wares and fares they collected from the people, the more wares and fares they wanted to collect from the people.
- And, then, in verses 10 thru 12, we read about the laborers in the fields and in the vineyards. These laborers, these farmers and harvesters, were often men and the heads of their families. If there were no fields or vineyards for them to harvest or pick, there would be no food or provisions for their families.
As you can clearly see, there is not one person in the whole of Israel that would not be affected by the coming plague of locusts. And, there would not be one person in the whole of Israel that would not be affected by the plague of enemy armies that would soon devastate the land.
The repentant remnant.
Joel, chapter 2, has some very specific dealings with Israel. Why Israel was judged in a very physical way for her disobedience and rebellion, we, too, even today, face destruction and devastation for our disobedience and rebellion to God's laws. Lest we forget that Israel was judged and punished, so, too , will be judged, and, then, either punished or rewarded.
God wanted His people to know that Israel would again, after the time of punishment was complete, be a nation once again. Sometimes, God has to bring a nation to desperation for her to really seek Him. It is the same on an individual realm; sometimes God has to bring us to our knees so that we can truly seek him with a broken and contrite heart. The Psalmist knew all too well how God longs for us to give Him our brokenness...Psalms 51:17--"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." God no longer required the outward demonstrations of inward emotions (the tearing of garments and the sprinkling of ashes), He wants our hearts. He wants us to come to Him broken and contrite so that He can show us that He is a gracious and merciful God, He is slow to anger and He is abounding in love.
As Joel's purpose was a national revival, showing true repentance, so is Joel's prophecies fulfilled in individual repentance.
The nations will be judged.
Once God has restored the captives to their native Judah and Jerusalem, He will gather all nations unto Him to be judged.
- "'When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory.
- All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
- He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.
- Then the King will say to those on His right, "Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
- For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in,
- I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me."
- Then the righteous will answer Him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and fee You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?
- When did we see you a stranger and invited You in, or needing clothes and clothe You?
- When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?"
- The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me."
- The He will say to those on His left, "Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
- For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink,
- I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."
- They also will answer, "Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help You?"
- He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me."
- Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.'"
We can all be assured that God will judge the nations. He will judge them with fairness and justice according to how nation treated the nation of Israel.
In Amos, He is that arms that carry us. Amos, the writer of the book carrying his name, is likened unto Elijah, or even John the Baptist, in that he denounced sin in a very bold way. He was a shepherd by trade, a native of Judah and called to prophesy in the Northern Kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel, during the kingship of Jeroboam II. Amos told the people exactly what was what...black is black, Hell is hot and sin is sin. He, like all the other prophets, announced the soon-to-come judgment of God. And, like all the other prophets, gave the people hope for restoration after the completion of their time of punishment.