These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
Joel 1 ~
I was really convicted reading just how much they saw God’s hand in the blessings (or withholding of blessings) in their land. Here they had famine caused by locusts. They recognized that as a result they need to repent, fast, mourn, and seek God for mercy and help. So when I see things like Covid going on in the land, my heart cries out that God’s people would see their role in praying and fasting and repenting: https://fmi360.live/2020/03/19/the-unique-duty-of-christians-amidst-covid-19/
It also shows a theme I’ve thought about lately in Scriptures: that fasting and mourning frequently go together (e.g. Matt 9:15)
Joel 2 ~
Yet again, I’m humbled and amazed by God’s graciousness. After we hear judgment, judgment, judgment…we read, “Then the LORD became jealous for his land and had pity on his people…” (2:18) Now it’s quite possible that time elapsed in between v. 17 and v. 18…maybe the people did repent, weep, etc. and God is responding. But there is also the aspect of: “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:7-8). In other words, God in his great love may have looked down and said, “I relent. I can’t bear to see you destroyed.”…ultimately fulfilled at the cross!
I love how 2:32 so concisely shows that BOTH God’s sovereignty AND human responsibility work together (in a way mysterious to us): “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved…among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.” Q: who’s doing the calling here?
Note v. 11 and v. 25 – God says that these enemy armies are actually his (compare Matt. 22:7 as well, where God calls the Roman invaders “his army”). It shows God’s sovereign hand in all of this, even enemy invaders, locusts, etc.
2:28-31 is that beautiful passage quoted in Acts 2. My understanding is that “the day of the Lord” = the day of Judgment.
Thus, it is fulfilled in 2 senses in the N.T.: #1 – the day of Jesus’ dying on the cross, taking God’s judgment on our behalf // #2 – the day of Jesus’ return where He will judge the whole world – those who turned to Him and His sacrifice He will bless; those who rejected Him and His sacrifice will have to receive the judgment on themselves since they didn’t opt for Jesus to take the judgment for them. Joel 2 is focusing firstly on judgment day #1 (Jesus’ cross), but also points to judgment day #2
After reading Joel 3, I think it verifies even more how Joel 2 speaks of the day of judgment on the cross, and Joel 3 speaks of the day of judgment for all people (you don’t want to be in the camp of those who rejected God’s judgment on the cross and resurrection through Jesus in the final judgment!)
“Rend your heart and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
God wants genuine repentance from us, not just religious rituals or traditions. During Jesus’ ministry this was a common theme throughout a lot of his discussions with the Pharisees. Jesus’ criticism of “clean” vs “dirty” dishes and whitewashed tomb comes to mind.
Speaks so much to God’s heart. He is after our hearts, not sacrifice and outward appearance.