A Brief Summary Of The Book of Joel
“Blow a trumpet on Zion, and sound an alarm on my Holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the Day of The Lord is coming; surely it is near.” Joel 2:2″
Joel Summary – Historical Background:
The year is approx 830 B.C .
Judah is ruled by the boy King Joash (7 years old) .
When Prince Joash was just a baby, his father King Ahaziah was embroiled in a coup in neighboring Israel, and was killed.
Immediately his mother (who took the title Queen Mother) Athaliah (daughter of Ahab & Jezebel) seized the throne herself, killing all her own male descendants as rivals. Baby Joash – the last remaining from the line of David – however, was rescued by the late king’s sister, Joash’s aunt Jehosheba. The wife of the Lord’s Priest Jehoiada, she hid him in the temple, and the two of them raised him up.
When Joash was only 7 years old the priest Jehoiada overthrew Athaliah and placed Joash (the Lords choice) on the throne.
Tutored by the Godly priest Jehoiada, Joash started of well, but as is so often the case, ended up badly.
After the death of his mentor Jehoiada (at 130years old !) he could not cope with the pressure of his peers and abandoned the lord.
Joash finally commits murder by sentencing Jehoiada’s son Zechariah (whom the Lord had sent to reason with him) to death.
Over 800 years later, Jesus later referred to this martyrdom when he said, “From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” (Luke 11:51)
He was himself finally murdered by a group of his opponents as he lay in bed recuperating from a lost battle with the Syrians.
Not buried with the Kings but instead was given a commoners grave. (2 Chron 24:23-27)
Where to read Joash’s story: 2 Kings 11 – 12; 2 Chronicles 22:10; 24:23-27
What’s in a name? Joel means “Yahweh is God”
YHWH (Yahweh) or (Jehovah) the ‘Tetragrammaton’ the unpronounceable name of God, personal name to the Israelites.
Main Theme – Impending Judgment ! “The day of the Lord” and the Final restoration of God’s people.
‘Day of the Lord’ in three phases
First ‘day of the Lord’.
Read 1 ; 1-7
Starts with a terrible plague of locusts which have afflicted Judah and compares this with the coming judgment. Pointing out that as bad as it seems, there is a lot worse to come. (1:1-13)
Second ‘Day of the Lord’.
Warns of a terrible conflict to come. Joel 2:1-11.
This could be the coming captivity by the Babylonians in 587 or the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD or the events in the ‘End Days’ or indeed all of the above!
God calls the people to repent and ‘Rend their hearts and not their garments’ (2:13).
‘Yet even now’ v12-13 Talk.
Restoration of the Nation 2:18-27 …v25 “then I will make up for you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten”
READ (Joel 2:28) “And it will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.”
Also Acts 2:17 familiar words; spoken by Peter on the day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit had fallen and the disciples all began speaking in ‘tongues’
Third ‘Day of the Lord’.
Even up to this time there is still time for repentance v32- ‘whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved’ again, a familiar scripture. Used by Paul in Romans 10:13.
Also 3:14 – even the valley of judgment is called the valley of decision!
Further proof that God is indeed ‘slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness’ (2:13).
Millennial Reign ? 3:16-18 Read
Applications for Today:
This is perhaps one of the most exciting of the Minor Prophets with regards to our times.
Out of Three ‘Days of the Lord’, two have already passed and the third is possibly just around the corner. The ‘Battle of Armageddon’ the final conflict between the forces of Good and Evil before the millennial reign of Christ.
Read Acts 2:17-21
There is a judgment day coming, when God will judge the nation of Judah for their backslidden ways.
As is the case of most of the Old Testament prophecies, this has a present and a future meaning for the peoples of the earth.
It often seems to us, that God is a bystander in times of crises and it was indeed the same with the ancients. However although The Lord may be ‘slow to anger’, he does get angry ! Judgment for sins is not optional – it is inevitable.
The call to ‘rend your hearts, and not your garments’ is simply a call for true repentance and not the sham repentance of the person caught with their ‘hands in the money box’.
The Lord is always ready to forgive, and forgiveness leads to restoration.
One of the most exciting and yet the most un-acted upon scriptures in my opinion is this.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Too many Christians today walk around with a heavy baggage of guilt on their shoulders. Even knowing the forgiveness of the Lord, they continue to let Satan rob them of their future joys, by reminding them of their past evils.
The forgiveness of God knows no boundaries, and no limitations.
The fact is that if you have received Jesus into your life, then you are already blessed beyond measure and forgiven your past sins completely. The Psalmist put it correctly when he said “As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
Why would the devil like to remind you just how much of a sinner you are ? The answer is simple; a guilt ridden Christian is about as much use as a chocolate fire-guard ! If you are struggling under a burden if sin and guilt; then you are hardly likely to make an effective witness, for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The devil cannot take away your salvation, however he can take away your effectiveness as a herald of the gospel of Jesus Christ – if you allow him to.
Over the years I have come up against many Christians struggling with depression, often linked to guilt because of something that they have done, or commonly something that has been done to them that has left them ashamed and fearful.
Even in bible college the call was sometimes “thank God and Prozac, I’m ok now!” verging on blasphemy I know, but that’s the truth of it.
As tragic as these things are, or have been; the answer is to start believing the scriptures, repent of any wrong-doing or perceived wrong-doing, and move on with life.
The old saying “confession is good for the soul” in this instance is true. Not confession before men, but before God the Father, through the Son Jesus.
Is there any sin that The Lord will not forgive a repentant Christian ?
Perhaps think or discuss the ‘unforgivable sin’ of blasphemy against the holy Spirit. Matt 12:31-32
Can a Christian commit this sin…. NO
This is a case where Jesus was accused of healing by the power of Beelzebub, when in fact it was by the power of the Holy Spirit. Hence they were blaspheming against the Holy Spirit – the unforgivable sin.
Anyone who has accepted Jesus into their lives, has also accepted The Father and the Holy Spirit and as a consequence received the forgiveness of the fullness of God.
Anyone who says that as a Christian you have or could commit the unforgivable sin – knows nothing about the forgiveness of The Lord – end off.
Time for prayer?
This would be a good time to offer prayer either as a group or to individuals in a group, who have perhaps been struggling in this area of forgiveness.
Remember that to be effective ambassadors for the Gospel, then we all must be fully aware of the freedom from guilt that we have as born-again believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
**EXCERPT WITH PERMISSION FROM THE MINOR PROPHETS SUMMARY BOOK BY JAMES PARIS – COPYRIGHT APPLIES **