Joel

Prophet of Repentance and Renewal

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An Introduction to Courses

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Taster Course

A short introduction

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Starter Course

Getting into the guts of what’s going on

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Main Course

The meat! And what to do about it!

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Dessert Course

Material for Church leaders and Tertiary level students

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The Key
The Key to unlocking the dynamic

This short book speaks directly to the question; ‘How can a person, or community be spiritually renewed?’ Joel’s (forceful) answer is not only that spiritual renewal and rejuvenation will come after urgent, fervent and sincere repentance, but that when this happens the Holy Spirit’s renewing power will transform everything far beyond what we can imagine. So the key to unlocking the dynamic of Joel is to make sure you feel the force of his message. This book is written at white heat. Neither the message or the application are for the complacent. So let the message hit you! Obeying the exhortations of the first one and a half chapters is the evidence that it has.


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Hear
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when you’re at the gym, travelling etc …


Read
Read

Read Joel through in one sitting.


Watch
Watch
Watch here

YouTube Clip showing a Locust swarm

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YouTube Clip showing a Locust swarm


Study
Study

Study the Introduction to Joel in a Study Bible

1. Read them through three times
2. Identify:
a. the main theme
b. the main verses
c. the verses that challenge you
d. the main application – the one thing the prophet is telling you to                    do.
3. Study the use of Joel 2:28-32 in Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, & Paul’s argument about evangelism in Romans 10.

➢ The BfL material and answering the BfL Questions


Meditate
Meditate

Suggested verses for meditation …

Joel 2:28-29

And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.


learn
Learn

Consider learning:

Joel 2:28-29

And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

taster course

Overview

Questions

5 mins

    • Video - The book explained in 4 minutes
    • Video
    • /
    • Book-in-a-Picture
    Book-in-a-Picture >
      Video - The book explained in 4 minutes
    • Video
    • /
    • Summary

    Joel

     

    Introduction, Summary & Exhortation

     

    This little book, only three chapters long, tucked away towards the end of the Old Testament, summarises simply and wonderfully the spiritual process from devastation to renewal, blessing and God’s intervention in world history. Joel builds on the frightening image of a country completely reduced to a desert by a locust swarm, which he understands in terms of spiritual devastation. Joel’s message is straightforward; if and when God’s people turn to Him in genuine repentance, then He will provide for them, destroy the forces that ruin them, send spiritual renewal and then intervene in decisive judgement delivering them from their enemies, and bringing a blessing which spreads out throughout all humanity.

     

    Joel is almost completely devoid of historical context but it has a timeless message. But perhaps its specific value lies in its focus on what could be called the primary Spiritual Disciplines of Abstinence; Fasting, Repentance, Solemn Assembly, Watching, Mourning and sincere turning to God. These are the catalytic points of change for both community and individual. The message of Joel is that there is titanic power in corporate repentance – it releases the presence and power of God. Repentance is consciously leaving what God hates, and immersing ourselves in what God loves.

     

    The truly sobering thing about the prophecy of Joel is that history has proved Joel exactly right time and time again. Principally this is seen in the atoning work of Jesus of Nazareth bringing forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Spirit. But this pattern has been witnessed subsequently throughout church history – and perhaps especially since the Great Awakening in America under Jonathan Edwards in the 18th Century. The revival under Wesley must be understood in this context. When God’s Spirit brings the conviction of sin and that conviction leads to heartfelt repentance and urgent prayer for revival, then the pages of church history overflow and our Christian book shops are full of testimonies of the ensuing outpouring of the Spirit bringing renewing revival power to God’s people and God’s world.

     

    So it is not only unsurprising, but entirely logical, that at the very beginning of his Pentecost sermon, at the birth of the church, Peter quotes the central verses of Joel; THIS outpouring of the Spirit is what Joel prophesied, and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

    Summary >
    taster Questions - Questions to start you off

    Question 1 -

    Who are the elders in Britain (1:2)?


    Question 2 -

    Philip Pullman, who is no friend of Christianity, wrote in a recent letter to The Times: “The Image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake’s prophetic books. Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber, that is the condition of Britain today. We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act… and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the Darkness. …” In view of Joel 1:2 do you agree with him?


    starter course

    podcasts

    the essentials

    Questions

    10 mins

    • podcasts - 3 to 5 minute ‘Teach-Ins’ on key themes
    • Commentary Podcasts on Joel

    Joel 1 - Audio Commentary

    Joel 2v1-17 - Audio Commentary

    Joel 2v18-32 - Audio Commentary

    Joel 3 - Audio Commentary

      the essentials - The literary features explained
    • Context
    • /
    • Literary Genre
    • /
    • Structure
    • /
    • Themes

    Context:

    We are told almost nothing about either the author, ‘Joel, the son of Pethuel’, nor about the date and context in which he wrote. But this simply endorses the timelessness of the message; ‘Genuine repentance will lead to spiritual renewal’. Although Joel addresses the nation of Israel and makes reference to Judah, Jerusalem and the priests his message applies equally to individual men and women and to all individuals, that is all humanity throughout all human history.

    There is no consensus about the date Joel was written although most scholars argue for a fourth century BC, post–exilic date, since there is no reference to any kings and the exile is treated as a past event; (3:2-3).

    Genre: The literary genre of Joel is “prophetic”, containing ‘oracles of judgement’ and ‘oracles of salvation’. There is frequent reference to items in nature, and the locust storm is described so forcefully that the book could be viewed as a ‘horror’ story.

    Structure

     

    Title:

    1:1Introduction.

     

     

    WAKE UP!:

    1:2 - 12With almost aggressive passion and urgency, Joel cries out to the elders and then all the people to wake up to the serious reality of their situation.  

     

     

    REPENT!:

    1:13 - 20He appeals to the priests to lead the nation in repentance and prayer.

     

     

    THE LORD IS COMING IN JUDGEMENT!:

    2:1 - 11The Lord is coming in power and “The Day of the Lord” will be a day of terrible judgement. 

     

     

    An urgent appeal for all to REPENT!:

    2:12 - 17Joel’s appeal reaches a crescendo. The whole nation must turn in serious, immediate and genuine repentance.

     

     

    God ACTS!:

    2:18Then the Lord is jealous, has pity and takes action.
    1. (2:19)God sends food.
    2. (2:20)God protects.
    > (2:21 - 24)An exhortation:
    3. (2:25 - 27)God restores.
    4. (2:28 - 32)God sends salvation, deliverance and spiritual renewal.
    5. (3:1 - 16)God will intervene in the nations.
    6. (3:17 - 21)God will dwell with his people.

    Themes:

    1. Repentance: Joel’s message is straightforward; if and when God’s people turn to Him in genuine repentance, then God will provide for them, destroy the forces that ruin them, send spiritual renewal and then intervene in decisive judgement delivering them from their enemies, and bringing a blessing which spreads out throughout all humanity.

     

    • Revival:

    Joel is not only the prophet of repentance; he is the prophet of renewal. Joel teaches that spiritual renewal is possible for all individuals and communities who recognise their spiritual bankruptcy, and turn in genuine repentance, seeking the Lord for renewal.

    Literary Genre >
    starter Questions - To help you think carefully about the key issues

    Question 1 -

    What is destroying the Spiritual life in Britain? Where are the locusts today in our technologically brilliant, but ethically weak society?


    watch video

    Question 2 -

    John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, the editor and Washington Correspondent, of the Economist, have recently written a book titled “God is Back: How global revival of faith is changing the world. Secular Atheistic Intellectuals are increasing telling us that this century will see a huge increase in faith, with Christianity likely to become prominent throughout the world. What would Joel’s comment be on this?


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    Question 3 -

    Do you find fasting effective?


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    main course

    Verse by Verse

    The Apprentice

    Questions

    • Verse by Verse - For a thorough understanding of the Biblical text
    • Joel 1
    • /
    • Joel 2v1-17
    • /
    • Joel 2v18-end
    • /
    • Joel 3
    • /
    • Key concepts in Joel

    Joel 1

     

    The Argument of the Chapter:

    The chapter is a series of cries to the nation to wake up to the reality of what is happening around them. These build up to a crescendo expressed in a prayer to the Lord for help in v19-20. The prophet addresses first the elders, then the drunkards (v5) then the farmers (which would be most of the population; v11), then the Priests (v13), before articulating the prayer to the Lord. The devastation caused by the locus swarm morphs into the focus of the prophet’s concern which is the spiritual ruin of the nation. The famine of food (v9, 13, 16, 17, 18) is understood to be both a picture of, and a result of the spiritual destitution throughout the nation.

    The prophet’s concern is that the when the Lord comes it will be a day of destruction (not vindication, blessing or salvation), because the nation’s spiritual condition is so appalling (v15).

    While the elders carry the responsibility for the nation, (and oversee the the governance – not the executive), the priests have responsibility for the spiritual life of the nation. It is their responsibility to lead in worship, to oversee the intercession and to represent the people before the throne of God. This chapter therefore includes all the people; those in government (elders), the people, and those with Spiritual authority (priests). The entire nation is summoned to wake up to the reality of its own devastation and to cry out to the Lord.

     

    V1. Joel speaks the very words of the Lord to the Lord’s people. Although there are several people called Joel in the OT no one else is named as the son of Pethuel. It is the Lord himself who initiates everything by sending His word to Joel. All that follows flows out of God’s initiative in sending His word to Joel.

     

    V2 & 3. The elders are addressed first because they carry the responsibility for the spiritual state of the people. But they are deaf! Note the “audio” verbs in this verse: “Hear”, “Listen”, Tell”, “Tell”.

    V4. The meaning of the word translated “locust” here is uncertain. It seems that the description is of successive waves of destroying insect.

     

    V12 Since the vine and fig tree represent Israel, the implication here is that there is no fruit in ministry – no conversions.

     

    V13 –.

     

     

    Joel 2

     

    Verses 1-11 prophesy “The Day of the Lord” using a description of a locust swarm to convey the horror of the judgement that is coming on the land. It is the Day of the Lord, and the Lord is the one who is head of His army.

    V1-2.   The trumpet warning must be blown on Zion, because it is the centre and heart of the nation’s religious life. The Day of the Lord is close, it will be a day of darkness, because thirdly a powerful force is coming against the nation.

    V3-5.   The invasion is described as a locust swarm bringing complete devastation.

    V6-11. A long description of the thoroughness of the destroying invasion. The twist being that the passage ends by stating that this army’s commander in chief is none other that the Lord himself!

     

    V12 summarises Joel’s appeal; even now there is time for repentance.

     

    V13 ‘rend your heart and not your garments’ – repentance must be genuine! Not simply an outward religious show. And Joel’s appeal is made on the basis of God’s character – his Chessed Love described in Exodus 34:6&7. God is always loving, but if Israel, like any child, persists and goes on persisting in disobedience, wilfully ignoring God, and making its own selfish and destructive decisions then God the Father will have to express that love in a severe warning, in the loss of privileged status, and in allowing the wayward child to reap the effects of the very choices the child is making! If you sow to please the sinful nature, from that nature you reap destruction (Galatians 6:8). ‘The measure you give is measured to you’ (Mark 4:24).

     

    V15-17 return to the appeal for repentance. Even the weddings should be postponed until the whole nation has properly repented. A leading example of this would be Nineveh, where the King proclaimed a full fast of three days for all men and women, and even the animals fasted (Jonah 3:7-9). The intercession at the end of chapter 1 is by the priests, this time it involves the nation. The significance of this final appeal is that the repentance must be:

    Corporate – involving the nation; a sacred assembly

    Involve Fasting –

    Involve the sincere plea that the Lord be Glorified.

     

    V17 tells us how to intercede; “Spare your people, O Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the nations, “Where is your God?” This is the heart of our intercession. It is the priests – the leaders of God’s people – who must intercede in this way. This parallels Amos’ summary accusation against the chief men of Israel, (Amos 6:6), ‘You do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph’. It is the elders, the priests, the stewards over the church (Matthew 24:45-47) who must watch over the spiritual state of the church, and use this petition in intercession.

     

     

    The Lord responds:

    V18 is the change point in the book of Joel. God is always good, merciful, kind, forgiving and entirely loving in every and all situations. Up to this point Joel has been warning God’s people very severely that if they do not repent and take responsibility for the appalling spiritual devastation in their nation then they will experience God’s intervening love in the form of strong and firm hand of correction. However, from this point on, if they do repent sincerely in ways described in the first one and a half chapters, Joel describes the catalogue of blessings which God will bring to His people.

    God is jealous for his glory, because all humanity was made to worship Him and him alone. To worship is to love and praise and serve with all our hearts. To worship anything else, (whether a spiritual entity, or an earthly feature such as sex, wealth, fame, greatness, power, etc), is to worship an idol, and the result is always destruction. The very first petition in the Lord’s prayer is that God will be honoured – loved, held very high, served wholeheartedly. Many such character traits are deliberately used in two ways in scripture. There is righteous anger, such as gripped Jesus when He encountered the stubborn blind resistance of the Pharisees to the message of the kingdom (Mark 3:5), and there is the dangerous human anger that leads to insult, contempt and the complete fracturing of relationships (Matthew 5:21-26). There is the pure and righteous jealousy of a lover (Song 8:6) who quite rightly will never allow the beloved to be joined sexually to another – this is the jealousy attributed to God here. And there is the human sinful tainted jealousy which is motivated by pride, arrogance, defensiveness and a whole flood of other evils that flow from the heart (Mark 7:21).

    God’s response to the sincere cry of his people (2:1-17) is pity – mercy, kindness, active intervention on behalf of those He loves.

     

    V19-32 After the statement of the Lord’s jealous love for his people and His pity for their plight there are four leading actions that He takes:

    1) v19 – “Daily Bread” – provision of food and wine

    2) v20 – Deliverance – from the oppressing army. This is then expressed in more detail to; the land, the animals and the people in v21 – 24. The section ends with the second assurance of the provision of much food (v24).

    3) v25 – Repayment – for what has been lost over the years; I will repay you for the years the locus has eaten. Again, the section contains a promise that there will be food v26. Instead of dishonouring God, God’s people will bring honour to Him. V27 acts as an interim summary of these first three parts (v19-27); you will know … that I am the Lord. (We are shamed only when we turn from God.)

                4) v28-32 – The outpouring of His Spirit, which is described in apocalyptic terms with the additional statement that ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and there will be deliverance on Mount Zion. Christians see a clear reference to the Cross and the gift of the Spirit in these verses.

     

     

    V19 – God’s first intervention is the provision of physical needs, just as the first petition in the second half of the Lord’s Prayer is “Give us today our daily bread”.

     

    V20 – Locusts smell badly when they all die and rot, so the final phrase indicates that we should understand this verse to be the deliverance and destruction of the locus hoard. But this represents spiritual forces of evil. Revelation 9 describes the activity of evil in human life with this very image of the locus hoard. Evil comes through human agency, it seems to rule over humans, but in his mercy God limits the effects of evil to give human beings the opportunity both to realise the destruction of evil, but also give opportunity for repentance.

     

    V21-23 describe an exhortation which progresses from the land to the animals up to the people. It is a description of prosperity and agrarian fruitfulness. The phrase “he has done great things for us” is a prophetic device that both looks backwards and forwards at once, remembering what has happened, but stating that God has already done this in the future.

     

    V28-32 There is something unexpected about these verses, they go far beyond being the straightforward answer to prayers cried out during a time of famine, (a little like asking for a bicycle and being given a fleet of cars, trucks, ships and aircraft). The Lord’s answer is here is to give nothing less than His Spirit and salvation. The use of apocalyptic language demonstrates that God’s agenda and plan here is not just food for the stomach, but total salvation for the spirit, soul, body and whole person, the lifting of the human being (who calls on the name of the Lord) into a completely new existence. (Brilliantly described by Paul in Galatians 4 where instead of being slaves we are adopted sons, inheriting the estate, and finding ourselves co-inheritors of God with Christ.)

    Joel 3

    The themes of judgement and decision run through this chapter. At the time (v1) that the Lord is restoring his people (in response to their genuine and sincere repentance), He will, (in addition to the four acts and stages of restoration described in 2:19-32), judge all nations. This is be a time of decision, of choosing, of making allegiance either with God or against Him. The chapter divides as follows;

    V1-3                God will bring all humanity to a time of judgement

     

    V4-8                The ports of Tyre and Sidon are sited as examples of those

    who will be judged, in their case for the serious injustices

    they have inflicted on God’s people.

     

    V9-16              God summons all nations to come for judgement. A time of

    crisis, opportunity, decision; a seminal moment when the

    past is assessed and judged, and the future is shaped and

    determined.

     

    V17-21            This final section stands separately from verses 1-16 and

    describes the blessing that is coming on God’s people. God

    will dwell with them, His life will flow among them, and

    their sin will be pardoned.

     

    V1-3    ‘Jehoshophat’ means “Yahweh has judged”, and since there is no know specific valley with this name it should be understood as a literary devise for indicating the time – an occasion – of summary judgement. The description of the injustices in verse 3 are terrifying, but these were allowed by God while his people were in sleepy and defiant rebellion against Him, as described in Joel 1:1-2:17. (In the same way as in Romans 1 the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness through the process of God simply giving people over to the very results of the choices they make.) But once the nation cries out in sincere repentance to their Father then He intervenes. The Day of the Lord described in Joel 2:1-11, will now be a day of blessing, restoration, vindication, and the judgement of enemies and the implementation of Justice, because God’s people have turned to Him is sincere and genuine repentance.

     

     

    V4-8    The northern ports of Tyre and Sidon would have been the places where the injustices of the slave trade (v3) were carried out. In the OT Tyre, a powerful and hostile city, is the foil of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 27-29). These two are sited here as examples of the summary day of judgement that will apply to all people. So we should study the principles of judgement that God exercises when He acts:

    • God’s judgement (His intervention) will be swift! (v4) – Luke 18:7
    • You receive exactly what you have done to others! This is the profound axiomatic truth of the Kingdom. What you do to others, others will do to you! You reap exactly what you have sown! Those who have enslaved others will find themselves in slavery (v6, 8). This principle is so axiomatic with God that it even underlies the judgement of those who never even knew Him (Matthew 25:40-46).

     

    V9-16 Summary judgement and a time of decision

    V10 is the opposite instruction to Isaiah 2:4

    V14-15 Joel uses apocalyptic language about the sun and moon in order to underline the absolute seriousness of this decision; Will you, (or won’t you), turn and follow the Lord? Since Pentecost to this very day the nations have been facing this very decision as the gospel is preached and proclaimed throughout the world. Jesus specifically said this would happen: ‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’ Matthew 24:14.

    Key Concepts in Joel

     

    1. Repentance:

    Joel’s message is straightforward; if and when God’s people turn to Him in genuine repentance, then God will provide for them, destroy the forces that ruin them, send spiritual renewal and then intervene in decisive judgement delivering them from their enemies, and bringing a blessing which spreads out throughout all humanity.

    Repentance could be understood as being sorry enough to stop. It means consciously leaving what God hates, and immersing ourselves in what God loves. It begins with the full and clear understanding and recognition of the true situation, which is why the first imperatives of Joel are; “Hear”, “Listen”, “Wake up”, “Wail”, “Mourn”, “Despair”. This is followed by a series of phrases addressed to the priests: “Put on sackcloth”, “Come, spend the night in sackcloth”, “Declare a holy fast”, “call a sacred assembly”, “Summon the elders”, “cry out to the Lord”.

    The second phase of imperatives address the heart of repentance: “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and repentance”. “Rend your heart and not your garments”, “Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate”. And the third and summary set of imperatives brings all this together culminating in the leading motivation for intercession; Let them say; “Spare your people O Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is your God?’”

     

    Joel’s message is addressed to the community. He calls for a corporate repentance. It is the community that must respond in sacred assembly, through corporate repentance, and corporate fasting. Biblical examples would include; King Josiah leading the nation in repentance in 2 Chronicles 34, and the Ninevites repenting with a three day fast at the preaching of Jonah. In the New Testament Saul of Tarsus immediately engaged in a total 3 day fast after encountering the risen Lord outside Damascus. He was then filled with the Spirit. The message of Joel is that there is titanic power in corporate repentance – it releases the presence and power of God.

     

     

    Revival:

    Joel is not only the prophet of repentance; he is the prophet of renewal. Joel teaches that spiritual renewal is possible for all individuals and communities who recognise their spiritual bankruptcy, and turn in genuine repentance, seeking the Lord for renewal. This is precisely why Peter quotes the main promise of Joel as the main argument and explanation in the most important sermon in Acts! It is difficult to underestimate the importance of this prophecy. Joel specifically describes the leading magisterial promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit and renewal in the whole of the Old Testament, and Peter quotes it as THE explanation of what happened at Pentecost, where the church was born. The prophecy of Joel must be listened to carefully because it alone promises and explains the renewing gift and activity of the Spirit in the lives of those who believe in Jesus. This is the promise that Jesus told his disciples to pray for while they waited in Jerusalem – Luke 24.

     

    There are at least five examples of people being filled with the Spirit in Acts and every time the event begins a new vista of ministry; Pentecost in Acts 2, The Early church in Acts 4:31, the Samaritans (Acts 8:17), The Gentiles in Acts 10:44, Paul (Acts 9), and the Ephesian church leaders in Acts 19. Christians need to know how and when to seek God in fasting and prayer for fresh outpourings of the Spirit.

     

     

    Joel 2v1-17 >
      The Apprentice - Helping apprentices of Jesus think through the applications
    • Overall Message
    • /
    • Leading Imperatives
    • /
    • Holy Habits

    The prophecy of Joel summarises simply and wonderfully the spiritual process from devastation to renewal, blessing, and God’s intervention in world history. The message is straightforward; if and when God’s people turn to Him in genuine repentance, then He will provide for them, destroy the forces that ruin them, send spiritual renewal and then intervene in decisive judgement delivering them from their enemies, and bringing a blessing which spreads out throughout all humanity.

    Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land!

    Has such a thing happened in your days or in the days of your fathers?

     

    Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children,

    and their children to another generation.

     

    Awake, you drunkards, and weep, and wail, all you drinkers of wine,

    because of the sweet wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.

     

    Lament like a virgin wearing sackcloth for the bridegroom of her youth.

     

    11  Be ashamed, O tillers of the soil; wail, O vinedressers,

    for the wheat and the barley, because the harvest of the field has perished.

     

    13  Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests; wail, O ministers of the altar. Go in, pass the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God!

     

    14  Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders

    and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.

     

    Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain!

    Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near,

     

    12  “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,

    “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

    13  and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God,

     

    and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?

     

    15  Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly;

    16  gather the people. Consecrate the congregation;

    assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants.

    Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.

     

    17  Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

     

    21  “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things!

     

    22  Fear not, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green;

     

    23  “Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God,

     

    Proclaim this among the nations: Consecrate for war; stir up the mighty men.

    Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up.

     

    10  Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears;

    let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”

     

    11  Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there.

    Bring down your warriors, O Lord.

     

    12  Let the nations stir themselves up

     

    13  Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.

    Go in, tread, for the winepress is full.

    Holy Habits: (Holy Habits are patterns of living and lifestyle practices which we choose to do in our lives in order to either withdraw from the dominion of the world – such as silence, secrecy, submission, fasting, watching, simple living – or, practices that plunge us into the life of the Kingdom, such as; prayer, worship, celebration, study, serving the poor and deprived, etc etc. They can be as simple as kneeling by your bed and thanking God at the end of the day, or as substantial as attending an annual Christian festival.)

     

    • The leading Holy Habit in Joel is the confession of sin and repentance.

     

    But perhaps Joel’s greatest value lies in the Prophet’s focus on what could be called the primary Spiritual Disciplines of Abstinence; Fasting, Repentance, Solemn Assembly, Watching, Mourning and sincere turning to God. These are the catalytic points of change for both community and individual.

     

    Apprentices of Jesus need to learn how confess their sins and repent (turn), both individually and corporately; to identify sin and turn from it neither wallowing in the despair of sinful wretchedness – because we have been set free from sin (Romans 6:22) – the prison door is open and we can walk out. But neither are we yet perfect. We are in the process of learning how ‘by the Spirit to put to death the misdeeds of the body’ (Romans 8:13). We need to learn how to practice the corporate fast that leads by the Spirit to national renewal.

     

    Leading Imperatives >
    main Questions - Important questions directly from the text

    Question 1 -

    The message of Joel is that sincere, genuine corporate repentance will bring renewal, deliverance and spiritual renewal. Why did God send Spiritual renewal at Pentecost when the Jews had never corporately repented? What was Jesus’ part in this?


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    Question 2 -

    Why does revival “tarry”?


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    Question 3 -

    What should a person do in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit?


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