We are starting a new book in the Exile Stream today. We are reading from the Modern English Version this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
God’s response to the nations sinfulness is the theme that Joel is driving at. There are hints of restoration and promises that God will come and pour Himself out and bless in ways the world had yet to see. But the theme that arises in this book is “the day of the Lord.” The Lord is going to come and bless those who are His. He is also going to come and judge those who are against the Lord and His workings. Many may remember those dreaded hours of in trepidation when they had disobeyed and mother when she stated, “wait until your father gets home!” The time between that statement and the arrival was uh, rather stressful for youngsters. There is an element of that here when Joel articulates “the day of the Lord.” They should be scared and/or in total awe of this imminent event. Perhaps we are jumping ahead, as we will be in Joel today and for the next two Wednesdays. Be that as it may. It is one of the earlier prophecies to Judah. It was written a century after the nation split [at the earliest]. ca. 830 B.C. nothing specific of the date is known beyond that.
1 – Joel is the son of Pethuel and that’s all that is assured of his identity.
A plague of locusts have stripped the country and the vineyards are devastated, the wheat harvest is gone, food is scarce and there is nothing to eat as well as there being nothing to sacrifice to the Lord on the altar. The Lord is not concerned with that part -the absent sacrifices- for the people have been offering sacrifices to God and yet having hearts that were NOT THERE. They may as well be dropping an offering in the plate and then shaking their fists and hollering, “hey God, you got my offering now leave me alone this week, ok!, you hear me, ‘sky-guy’ ?” … pretty bad, huh? yes it is. So God is getting their attention These locusts left nothing green and Joel is using the situation to teach a colossal lesson. Joel, speaking for God, wants repentance. He wants Judah to change and have a transformed heart for Him. He wants prayer, a mind for him, fasting, He wants Judah seeking His face. God is dead serious with these Judeans. He wants them hungry for Him, and he’s made them hungry to prove His point. The granaries and storehouses are empty as are the fields, the animals are so hungry that they are dizzy, the grasses have been devoured by fire. Joel states some rather piercing symbolism when he writes that even the beasts of the field are longing for God. Now to get the Judeans to long for God – it’s a great plan, but how?