Joel’s Message to Judah
JUNE 13 - Nº 164 Joel 1 – 3
Edom wasn’t the only nation that was at fault in the centuries-old feud that constantly simmered between the Edomites and the people of Judah. Shortly after Obadiah confronted the people of Edom about their arrogance, God sent a prophet named Joel to pronounce judgment on Judah as well. The people of Judah also needed to repent and re-align themselves with God’s plans or He would send disaster. Joel’s message was a reminder of a past tragedy that could recur, but it was also a revelation of future hope. Joel recalled a series of disasters that God had allowed to afflict Judah. Swarms of hungry insects had devoured all their crops and completely devastated the countryside. There was a time of great famine and anguish that caused the entire nation to go into mourning. Everyone suffered—including the priests who didn’t have enough grain to make the required sacrifices; the farmers and shepherds who couldn’t feed their families or their animals; even the lazy drunkards who no longer had any wine since the grape vines had been destroyed! Then as if the locust invasion wasn’t bad enough, God allowed a prolonged drought that resulted in terrible wildfires! The devastation had been so great that stories were told about it for generations. God had allowed these tragedies to take place to get Judah’s attention. He wanted the nation—that would someday welcome the Messiah—to seek forgiveness and return to Him. But Joel’s prophecy was far more than a history lesson about horrible events from the past. It predicted even more devastation that would occur in the future if Judah kept on sinning. There would be another invasion. But this time, instead of insects, the assault would come from a mighty army—so mighty that the horses and chariots would shake the earth. And the results would be far worse! (This prophecy could have been referring to the invasion of the Babylonian army that took place nearly 225 years later—see #184, #185, #186.) Once again, God’s purpose would be to draw His people back to Himself. Joel instructed the religious leaders that it was time to lead the people of Judah in mourning and repentance. Everyone was to gather at the Temple in Jerusalem. Then they were to fast and cry out to God for mercy so that He would not bring this devastation on them again. But God wanted their repentance to be sincere. He wanted them to do more than just fast, rip their clothes, and wail. He wanted them to look inside their hearts and get rid of their sin. Joel joined them in pleading for God’s forgiveness. Then he explained that God is gracious and compassionate and full of love. He doesn’t want to send disaster. He wants to have fellowship with His people. God promised to defeat the invaders, restore the land, and return to live with His people—if Judah truly repented. Joel also prophesied about a future time when there will be no more evil, therefore there will be no need for judgment or invasions. The earth will be completely restored, and everyone will live in peace. He reminded the people of God’s promise that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:32)!
Repentance involves turning to God. But it also requires turning away from sin. God loves us and wants to fix the things that have been messed up in our lives. But we must be sincere when we come to Him to ask for His forgiveness and help. Are there things in your life that you need to turn away from before God can fix the problems they are causing?