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Summary: Joel's plea is for the people to return to God. He reminds them of God's discipline in the past using swarms of locusts, and urges them to repent because this time God was going to use an army.

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JOEL: RETURN TO GOD

A. Is there anybody here who is AFRAID of INSECTS?

1. I am not too fond of SPIDERS, or anything that STINGS.

ILLUSTRATION:

My granddaughter Shalie, who is the oldest daughter of my oldest daughter, is terrified of most if not all INSECTS. She is getting married in July, so I have her and her fiancé Matt in pre-marital counseling on Tuesday afternoons. Last Tuesday as they were leaving my office a COCKROACH was walking across the floor and Shalie jumped behind her FIANCÉ for protection

and yelled, “Kill it, Papa! Kill it!”

She has always been this way. When she was 3 years-old, she and my other granddaughter Brianna were playing in the living room, and Shalie came running into the dining room where we adults were playing cards SCREAMING at the top of her lungs because a common HOUSEFLY was flying around her. Her dad went in with a flyswatter and when he came back to tell Shalie that he killed it, and she said, “Show me!” Her dad had to show her the CARCASS of a DEAD FLY before she would go back into the living room.

2. But how would you like to CONTEND with this? (bring up slides)

ILLUSTRATION:

This is a SWARM of LOCUSTS (We call them GRASSHOPPERS in Oklahoma) that occurred in Egypt just 3 years ago, in March of 2013. It was estimated that there were over 30 million LOCUSTS that swarmed the FIELDS and FARMS of Cairo and surrounding area consuming over 423 million pounds of VEGETATION in one day.

3. The prophet Joel writes about such a PLAGUE of LOCUSTS that invaded Palestine, and he uses that DEVASTATION as an object lesson of future JUDGEMENT against the Southern Kingdom of Judah, but this time by an INVADING ARMY, if they do not REPENT and RETURN to God.

B. As with Obadiah, we do not know anything about the PROPHET Joel beyond what the book says.

1. We know he was the son of Pethuel.

a. He was a resident of Judah, and many scholars believe that he was either a PRIEST or the son of

a PRIEST because of his many references to the PRIESTLY FUNCTION in the temple.

b. His prophecy is dated around 830 BC during the reign of Joash, known as the “BOY KING,”

“who became king of Judah when he was only 7 years old”- 2 Kings 12:1.

c. Joel’s name means: “Jehovah (Yahweh) is God.”

2. The two underlining themes that run through this book, as well as most of the MINOR PROPHETS,

is the NEED for REPENTANCE and the HOPE of RESTORATION.

COMMENT:

Because of their REBELLION against God and TURNING to IDOLS, the Israelites had lost their WAY. God wanted to RESTORE His people to the BLESSED life that he had PLANNED for them under His rule.

This book also reveals the ultimate GLORY of God’s PROMISE fulfilled through Christ in His CHURCH.

MESSAGE:

I. DEVASTATION (SIGN OF JUDGMENT)- Joel 1:1-2:11

A. God used the LOCUST PLAGUE to punish Judah- vv. 2-14

1. Joel asked the ELDERLY of Judah “if they could remember a LOCUST PLAGUE like this in

their LIFETIME, or even if their FOREFATHERS spoke of such a PLAGUE?”

a. Joel wanted them to understand that this was no FREAK of NATURE—this was God’s

JUDGMENT upon Judah because of their SIN and refusal to REPENT.

b. In fact, “Joel wanted this JUDGEMENT to serve as a WARNING for the next FOUR

GENERATIONS”- v. 3. “Children, grandchildren, great and great-great grandchildren.”

COMMENT:

God did not want this JUDGMENT to be soon FORGOTTEN. He wanted his people to remember the DEVASTATION—the WEEPING and SORROW, the HUNGER and THIRST,

the DESTRUCTION of LAND and LIVESTOCK.

He wanted them to remember that this CALAMITY was brought about by their SIN of REBELLION and IDOLATRY. God was PUNISHING them in order to bring about their REPENTANCE and SEEK His favor once again.

c. Could it be possible that God uses TRAGEDY, HARDSHIP, and DIFFICULTY as a means of

DISCIPLINING His people today? Hebrews 12:4-7a (READ)

COMMENT:

Even as PARENTS discipline their children to TEACH lessons and DISCOURAGE bad behavior, so does our Heavenly Father. God’s DISCIPLINE is out of LOVE for His children. He does not want to see THEM—to see US—GO DOWN a path of DESTRUCTION. So He

DISCIPLINES in hopes that we will REPENT and FOLLOW His teachings once again.

Now, not every time we undergo HARDSHIP are we being DISCIPLINED—the Bible makes that clear as well. However, when FACED with DIFFICULTY in our lives, it would be WISE to EXAMINE ourselves to see if indeed we are following a PATH that is not PLEASING to God. God may be trying to TELL us something.

2. Joel reminds them of the extent of the DEVASTATION the LOCUSTS caused- vv. 4-12

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