Summary of passage: Joel 1: Joel describes an invasion of locusts and the devastation it wrecks on God’s people. It was sent by God to turn them towards Him. It destroyed their crops, vines, trees, fields, grain, wheat, and barley. Joel calls for repentance and mourning and fasting before the Lord. Turn to God since everything else is gone and there’s no where else to turn. Call upon Him as the wild animals do.
Joel 2: Joel says the Day of the Lord is coming and is close at hand. On a dark day a large and mighty army led by God comes, laying waste to the land with fire and turning nations pale with fear. The army charges, never deviating.
3) It is “a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army (led by God–verse 11) comes…before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes…nothing escapes them….at the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale…before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.” (All of Joel 2:2-11).
4) Sin and a turning away from God. Joel says for all to mourn and call out to God. He also says the grain and drink offerings are withheld from the house of God because of this plague. He calls for a fast and a summoning of the elders–all signs a sin has been committed.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Bankruptcy. Depended on Him to bring us through. He has.
Conclusions: BSF tells us that we are studying Joel because he is speaking of the Day of the Lord. Joel is speaking of a current invasion of locusts in Chapter 1. In Chapter 2 he turns to a general day of the Lord.
Joel offers a three-part message which we will study in three days:
- A day of judgment (Today)
- A call to repentance (Lesson 11 Day 3)
- A future of hope (Lesson 11 Day 4)
What is the Day of the Lord? The Day of the Lord is first mentioned in the Bible in Isaiah 2 and appears in other apocalyptic writings of the time. The term appears again in Amos 5, here in Joel, and in Daniel 12:12. The phrase “the day of the Lord” is used nineteen times in the Old Testament (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:1,11,31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi. 4:5) and five times in the New Testament (Acts 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10). It is also alluded to in other passages (Revelation 6:17; 16:14).
In Old Testament usage, scholars think it was a common term God’s people would know and in the Old Testament the Day of the Lord is the day God would judge His people for previous sins against Him (like a locust plague here in Joel). In Joel 2:32, we see, however, that all who do turn to God will be saved. It has a near and a far away fulfillment.
In general, the Day of the Lord is any intervention of God in history for the purpose of judgment. In eschatology (Joel 2:10-11), the Day of the Lord is the ultimate punishment of evil.
In the New Testament, Acts quotes Joel 2:28-32 in chapter 2. The phrase appears again in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Corinthians 1:14, Revelation 6, Matthew 26, and 2 Peter 3. These NT passages tie the Day of the Lord to the Second Coming of Christ to judge the world and fulfill God’s purpose for mankind here on earth. It is almost exclusively used as a future fulfillment. Scholars debate if it’s an actual “day” or if it’s a time period.
The main idea is the “Day of the Lord” refers to a time when God will personally intervene in history to fulfill His plans for the world.
Background on Joel: Joel was one of the earliest prophets. Joel means “Jehovah is Lord”. Scholars date this book to around 835 BC, a time in Israel’s history where there was great turmoil amongst the kings. This was the time when Judah and Israel were split. However, the date is debated and has been anywhere from the ninth to the third century BC.
Queen Athaliah seized power at the sudden death in battle of her son Ahaziah, who only reigned one year (2 Kings 8:26, 2 Kings 11:1). Athaliah killed all her son’s heirs, except for one who was hidden in the temple and escaped – one-year-old Josiah (2 Kings 11:3). Her six-year reign of terror ended in 835 B.C. when the High Priest Jehoiada overthrew Athaliah and set the seven-year-old Josiah on the throne (2 Kings 11:4-21).
It goes without saying that Athaliah’s reign was wicked for anyone who would kill her grandkids has problems. Therefore, scholars best guess is that this plague of locusts came at the end of Athaliah’s reign in judgment for her wickedness. Scholars do believe this was an actual plague despite the fact this is the only place this event is recorded in historical writings.
Little is known about the man himself. No one knows for sure when he delivered these messages and no one even knows if he lived in Judah or Israel.
Joel 1: We know Chapter 1 is describing Judah’s present situation due to the verbs used: has left, have eaten. This just happened! And it’s so devastating he wants the people to tell their children about it for generation after generation so it is remembered.
Joel says to mourn and turn to God by fasting, calling a sacred assembly, summoning the elders to God’s house, and crying out to Him. God tells us (the people) exactly what to do to come back to Him. How amazing!
Remember God’s “day” is not our “day”. Hence, scholars debate on how long this “day” will be.
Remember “Day of Lord” is judgment. Here, it is immediate. Ultimately, it’s Jesus’s Second Coming.
Only God can fix the people’s problems. Everything is gone. All that is left is God.
Disasters are wake-up calls from God to turn to Him and repent. Nothing is accidental in God’s world. Are you ready for just such a disaster in your life and will you call out to Him when it happens?
Joel 2: Here Joel talks about future judgment known as the day of the Lord. It’s dark and gloomy and black to those who are defying God as the Israelites are here. Joel predicts an army will come but scholars believe this never happened because right after Joel’s prophecy here a Godly king named Joash (2 Kings 11:4-21) came to the throne and thus adverted judgment.
God’s army is disciplined, effective, and strong. So should we be as His soldiers.
Joel minces no words here and the people heard.