Summary: Overview and Introduction to the book of Joel and the Day of the Lord.
- Okay—it’s the New Year.
o So who made some resolutions for 2016?
o Who has already broken some of your resolutions?
- I don’t really set new resolutions.
o I just kind of recycle last year’s and hope that I’ll do better at keeping them than I did last year.
- Resolutions are like that, aren’t they?
o We like to think about all the things that’ll make us better people and we set goals to work toward.
o But by the time February or March rolls around, most of us are back where we started from.
- Maybe you do better than I do.
o But I’ll bet most of you don’t.
o I’d say that many of us don’t even fool with making resolutions—because we know they’ll be a waste of time.
- In all seriousness—resolutions and goals for the New Year are fine.
o They can be good motivators to help us get started on some things.
- But if you’ve come here this morning expecting to get your head filled with a bunch of New Year’s self-improvement ideas, you’re going to be disappointed.
o Because we’ve got bigger fish to fry than a bunch of surface-level self-improvement stuff.
o We’ve got eternal things to consider.
- This morning, we’re going to start a 7-week series through the Old Testament book of Joel.
o And trust me—even though it’s only three short chapters, it’s an incredibly weighty book.
o This isn’t going to be easy stuff—but I think it’s going to hit us right where we are and get us to where we need to be.
- Let’s look at 1:1 for the introduction.
- That isn’t much of an introduction, is it?
o Most of the prophetic books of the Bible give us some clue as to who the person was that wrote it.
o Not this one.
- Here’s all we know about Joel.
o His name is a contraction of the two primary names for God—YHWH (Jehovah) and Elohim.
o His very name is a testimony to the fact that YHWH is God above all.
- That’s all we know about the author—and on top of that, we don’t know anything about when he gave this prophesy.
o Most conservative scholars think the book was written sometime before the exile, probably during the reign of King Joash.
- Here’s the thing—unlike a lot of other books in the Bible, understanding the “whos” and “wheres” and “whens” don’t have any impact at all in the way we understand what’s going on here in Joel.
o That’s probably why the Holy Spirit didn’t feel the need to let us know those things when He inspired and superintended the writing of this book.
- We might not know much about Joel or the time he wrote his book, but we do know that the Holy Spirit wrote it through him—all of it.
o In a nutshell, that’s really the overview of the book.
- Next week, we’re going to start the verse-by-verse exposition.
o But this morning, we’re going to spend the rest of our time looking at the major theme of the book.
- The major theme of the book of Joel is the Day of the Lord.
o So in order to understand what the Lord is trying to teach us in this book, the first thing we have to understand is—what is the Day of the Lord?
o Let’s start by looking at the two passages where Joel talks specifically about it.
- What is the Day of the Lord?
o Well, to put it simply—the Day of the Lord is that time in the future when Jesus comes back.
- We’ve just finished celebrating the first coming of Jesus.
o Joel focuses on His second coming.
- Jesus is coming again!
o We tend to forget that in our day-to-day lives, don’t we?
- I think we can too easily become like the scoffers in 2 Peter 3.
o You know—the ones who said,
o “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
- I remember the book “88 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1988.”
o More recently, I remember all those billboards that Harold Camping bought that said the rapture was happening on May 21, 2011.
- Well—it didn’t, did it?
o The fact is that there are so many of those false predictions and false doomsday scenarios that it makes us numb to the fact that Jesus REALLY is coming back.
- We don’t know when, but we know this—His return is closer today that it’s ever been.
- Now, I’m mixing things up a little bit here, so I need to clear something up.