Bible Teaching Notes
Friday, June 23, 2017
Omar C. Garcia

Joel

Notes by Jerry Perrill, Missionary to Laos and Thailand (Retired)


The Minor Prophets were minor because of size, not in importance!

There are two things in Joel that help us focus on the importance of God’s message from it.
 
First is the reminder of just exactly what it is that belongs to God. Divide the class in three groups and ask each group to take a chapter and find all those items which are reported to be God’s own; those things that God says, “are mine;” or are “his.” Or it may be put, the “­­­________ of God,” or “______ of the Lord.” For instance,
 
·         My land, 1:6
·         The house of the Lord your God, 1:9, 13, 14
·         My people, 3:3 (And did you get ‘his word’ in 1:1??)
 
I found some 15, but I want your students (and you) to hunt them down. This was Joel’s way of emphasizing the sovereign lordship of God over all! I think you will be amazed, as I was over some things that “are God’s.” I hope we can spend some time in thinking and confessing the truth of God’s lordship over every bit of our lives.
 
Second, Joel and many of these prophets present their aspect of truth in terms of the
“now – but not yet”, the tension between life in its very real, present here and now on the one hand, and on the other the coming day of the Lord which was future, either immediate future, distant future or end-time future. We have to read carefully to ascertain what is being said. Often the prophets were shown things that would happen, but not when they would happen. Sometimes they put two widely separated events together
 
This “day of the Lord” was usually an announcement of coming judgment before the bar of God, the righteous and holy Judge. The people often times were so self-satisfied with what they assumed God thought of them, and they considered that day a happy day to look forward to. Much to their shocked sorrow, the prophets warned them of a terrible day. I have listed below some of the verses in the OT where this day is spoken of. Sometimes it is simply with the short form, “that day.” Then below that are added some of the references in the NT which carry the thought of “that day” forward.
 
Keep these for reference in mind.
 
·         Isaiah 2:12, 17, 20; 4:2; 5:30; 7:18; 11:10, 11; 13:6, 9, 13; 14:3; 17:4, 7, 9, 11;
          19:19-24; 22:5, 12, 20-25; 24:21; 25:9; 27:1, 12-13; 28:5; 34:8; 61:2; 63:4
·         Jeremiah 17:17-18; 18:17; 30:7-8; 46:10
·         Lamentations 2:22
·         Ezekiel 30:3
·         Joel 1:15; 2:1-2, 11, 31; 3:14
·         Amos 2:16; 3:14; 5:18-20; 8:9-13; 9:11
·         Obadiah 15
·         Zephaniah 1:7-18; 2:2; 3:20
·         Haggai 2:23
·         Zechariah 2:11; 3:10; 9:16; 12:3-9; 13:1, 2, 4; 14:1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 20, 21
·         Malachi 3:2, 17; 4:1, 3, 5
 
This great truth is emphasized in the NT as well. You can usually tell when he has “that” day in mind. Here are some of the references:
 
  • Matthew 7:22; 10:15; 11:22-24               Romans 2:5, 16
  • 1 Corinthians 1:8; 5:5                            2 Corinthians 1:14
  • Ephesians 4:30                                      Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:15
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:2                               2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
  • 2 Timothy 1:18                                      1 Peter2:12
  • 2 Peter 2:9; 3:7, 10, 12                          1 John 4:17
  • Jude 6                                                   Revelation 6:17; 16:14
 
A few thoughts as we turn to the text. To an agrarian culture like Israel, a plague of locusts would be as devastating an event as a tsunami or a category 5 hurricane is to a costal city today. Joel mentions such an invasion and in 1:4 mentions the four stages of locust life. Question: What do you think the “nation” was in 1:6; 2:3-11? Was it a nation from among the gentile world or was it further describing that horrible mass of locusts? Who is my great army in 2:25? Chapters 1 and 2 seem to be speaking of two things at the same time, i.e. a locust invasion and a future military invasion from abroad. The former is a sign of things to come from the latter.
 
Chapter 2:12f is a great call to repentance; then beginning in verse 18f we read of God’s answer and the hope believing mankind can have on “that day.” But we dare not get complacent and slothful, for “that day” of judgment is coming (chap. 3). Jesus had this thought in mind when He challenged all to be “those who persevere to the end” for they “will be saved.”
 
Again, who are the multitudes in the valley of decision? Will they be there for judgment? This was not a place where people must make a decision; it is where they will hear God’s decision – God’s final verdict. Court is in session; the Judge has weighed all the evidence; now the defendants stand to hear the judge read His verdict. And once He does, they can make no appeal, because His judgments are always without error!
 
Some questions for reflection from a book by Mark Dever, The Message of the OT, page 714:
 
·         In Joel, the invasion of the locusts was a small act of God’s judgment that
          pointed toward another, greater judgment. Is that true of your life and thought?
·         Do most people live anticipating the judgment of God? Do you?
·         Do you believe hell exists? Do you spend much time thinking about hell?
·         How can we more effectively encourage one another to live in the light
          of the Lord’s coming judgment?
·         Is the Lord in control of natural disasters and the effects of those disasters? All of them?
          How about man-made disasters? Does this make God cruel? Why or why not?
 
Think about these next two statements. I certainly did – after reading them several times!
 
·         True or false: “As much as anything else, sinners need to be saved from God Himself.”
           Explain your answer.
·         True or false: “More than anything else, a sinner’s only hope is in this same God.”
           Explain your answer.
 
Truly our God is full of justice, righteousness, grace, mercy and loving-faithfulness. God help us grow in the awareness of Him in all His fullness! And thank Him for His saving work for us!

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