Joel

Voices for Revival – Study of Minor Prophets (Pre-Exilic Period)
Book of Joel

Joel Background

We know very little about Joel – only that he was a prophet and the son of Pethuel. His name means, “Jehovah is God.”

He may have lived in Jerusalem because his audience was Judah, the southern Kingdom. Joel speaks forthrightly and forcefully in this short and powerful book. This book was probably written from about 835 to 796 BC during the reign of King Joash.

His message is one of foreboding and warning, but it was also filled with hope. He states that our Creator, the omnipotent Judge, is also merciful, and he wants to bless all those who trust him.

When the people of Judah became prosperous, they also became complacent. They had turned to idolatry, sin and became self-centered. Joel warned them that this kind of lifestyle would inevitably invoke God’s judgment

Joel begins by describing a terrible plague of locusts that covers the land and devoured the crops. The devastation wrought by these creatures is but a foretaste of the coming judgment of God, in the “day of the Lord.”

Joel, therefore, urges the people to turn from their sin and back to God. Woven into this message of judgment was the need for repentance. It was an affirmation of God’s kindness and the blessings he promises for all who follow him.

In fact, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (2:32).

Key Themes:

Joel Key Themes

Punishment
Like a destroying army of locust, God’s punishment for sin is overwhelming, dreadful, and unavoidable. When it comes, there will be no food, water, protection, and no escape. The day of settling accounts with God for how we have lived is fast approaching.

God is the one with whom we all must reckon with – not nature, the economy, or a foreign invader. We can’t ignore or offend God forever. We must pay attention to His message now, or we will face His anger later.

Forgiveness
God stood ready to forgive and restore all those who would come to him and turn away from sin. God wanted to shower his people with his love and restore them to a proper relationship with him.

Forgiveness is obtained by turning from sin and turning towards God. It is not too late to receive God’s forgiveness. God’s greatest desire is for you to come to him.

Promise of the Holy Spirit
Joel predicts the time when God will pour out his Holy Spirit on all people. It will be the beginning of new and fresh worship of God by those who believe in him, but also the beginning of judgment on all who reject him.

God is in control. Justice and restoration are in his hands. The holy Spirit confirms God’s love for us just as he did for the 1st Christians (Acts 2). We must be faithful to God and place our lives under the guidance and power of his Holy Spirit.