Joel 2:12-13, 2:32
The book of Joel is one of warning to the people of Judah and it can be applied to believers today. The people of Judah had become prosperous and smug in their relationship with God.
Underestimating God, they became egotistical, they worshipped idols and fell into sin. Joel cautions them that this way of life will unavoidably cause God to cast His judgment down on them.
In the first part of chapter 1, Joel predicts that a locust plague will befall the people of Judah. In the second half of chapter 1, Joel calls the people to repent. Then in chapter 2, Joel warns of the approaching judgment, and for the people to “Return to the Lord your God.” In the last part of chapter 2, Joel tells them that God will pour out His Spirit. Then finally in chapter 3, Joel tells them that the Day of the Lord is near.
The “Day of the Lord” is a common expression in the Old Testament. It generally alludes to some phenomenal occurring, regardless of whether a current event (the plague of locust), an event that is soon to happen (Jerusalem being destroyed or enemy nations being defeated), or at the end of history when God will vanquish a11 of the powers of evil.
God was telling His people to return to Him while they still had time. Their time for repentance was almost over and judgment was soon to given to them for their disobedience. Believers today need to understand that our time of repentance is also running out, like the sands in an hourglass, slowly falling. We do not know when our time will be up so we must repent for any wrongdoing that might be in our lives. We cannot afford to have anything holding us back from a relationship with the Lord.
In biblical times, people would tear their clothes as a sign of deep remorse for any transgressions, along with the covering of ashes and wearing sackcloth. God did not want the people to put on an outward demonstration of repentance without an inward application of repentance. (Matthew 23:1-36)
Our inward attitude (heart) must be true and righteous to God for grace and mercy to come upon us. If only an outward action is performed, it is of no use and judgment is what we deserve. (Amos 7:2-6)
What does it mean to repent? It means that one feels and expresses sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing, transgressions, or sin. It enters our minds then it hits our hearts. We do a complete 180 degree turn around and go back to God.
Mercy and judgment are intricately connected. One can follow the other. Joel had said that if the people confessed their transgressions that the Lord would spare them from judgment. In this coming judgment and disaster, some would be spared. God wants to mend and heal broken lives, not demolish them. We should acknowledge his salvation, or we will face judgment with the unrepentant.
Repentance is an inward experience, not an outward display. The heart is what needs to be torn, not our clothes. Judgment falls unto the sinner for not accepting Christ, and unto the Christians living in sin. When a person repents and turns their hearts and lives to God, He is saying that we were under His judgment and that He was going to judge us. But because we are repentant, He will not judge us.
Church Hymnal, page 357, Is Thy Heart Right With God
Have thy affections been nailed to the cross?
Is thy heart right with God?
Countest thou all things for Jesus but lost?
Is thy heart right with God?
Is thy heart right with God,
Washed in the crimson flood,
Cleansed and made holy, humble and lowly,
Right in the sight of God?
Friend where do you stand today?
Joel 1:13-20 (17)
Joel was a prophet to the country of Judah, otherwise called the Northern Kingdom. The motivation behind this book was to caution Judah of God's approaching judgment due to their transgressions and to encourage them to turn around to God. Why? Individuals of Judah had become prosperous and self-satisfied. Underestimating God, they had turned to conceit, excessive admiration, and sin. Joel cautions them that this sort of way of life will definitely bring down God's judgment.
In the first twelve verses, Joel predicts a plague of locusts that was to come. What do locusts do? They eat every green thing in sight. They can devour acres of crops in a manner of minutes. Now let us look at this passage of Scripture again.
A FAST was a timeframe when no food was eaten and individuals moved toward God with lowliness, distress for transgression, and pressing supplication. In the Old Testament, individuals frequently abstained during seasons of catastrophe to concentrate on God and exhibit their shift in perspective and genuine commitment (Judges 20:26; 1 Kings 21:27; Ezra 8:21; Jonah 3:5).
The "Day of the Lord" is a typical expression in the Old Testament and in the book of Joel (2:1, 2:11, 2:31, 3:14). It generally alludes to some unprecedented occurring, regardless of whether a current occasion (like a plague of locusts), a near future event (like the annihilation of Jerusalem or the enemy nations defeat), or the last time of history when God will overcome every one of the powers of evil.
Without God, the destruction is certain. The people who have not by and by acknowledged God's adoration and pardoning will remain before him with no allure. Make certain to call upon God's affection and leniency while we have the chance.
Now let us look at another passage of Scripture.
The Syrians had abandoned the God who could save them, depending rather on their idols and their own solidarity. Regardless of how effective they were, God's judgment was certain. Regularly we rely upon the features of accomplishment (costly vehicles, past occasions, garments, homes, and so on) to give us satisfaction. Be that as it may, God says we will procure anguish and torment in the event that we have relied upon fleeting things to give us everlasting security. In the event that we do not want a similar treatment Damascus received or as others in the Bible, we should abandon these bogus allurements and put our faith and trust in God.
In the book of Amos 4:1-13, it tells of the prophet Amos who tells Israel to repent, for the people had refused to turn to God. these people were more interested in serving themselves and would not submit to God’s will.
Are individuals of the church today comparably corrupt if they are living like the people in these passages of Scripture? Has the Spiritual Seed that we are called to plant become rotten? Have we become rotten seed? What will God have to do with the people of today to cause them to get their hearts directly in line with God? What should befall Christians that will cause them to start to be as Christ wants them to be? Is it safe to say that we have become a Church of Casual Christianity? Is it safe to say that we are Cardboard Cutout Christians? What will it take to bring us back to God?
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