Summary: Let us not abandon the theology that God and this culture is on a collision course. Hear the words of the prophet and make ready!
Words of Warning – Series from Joel
“Judgment Is Coming”
* One of the forgotten, if not dismissed, truths from God’s word is that this world is on a collision course with Almighty God (Elohim). While it is true that God is a god of love, grace, and even mercy, what people of today may well need is a reminder of the truth that God is a God of justice & judgment.
* Today we begin a walk through the prophecy of Joel. Not a great deal is known about Joel, but we would do well to know a great deal about what Joel wrote. Why? Because of the first verse in this prophecy, “The word of the Lord that came to Joel son Pethuel.” Even though we have little knowledge of Joel & less of Pethuel, it is in our best interest to hear from the one whose words Joel is recording. The 63 verses in this prophetic book serve to caution and to call all people to have a clear view of God’s coming judgment. At the end of every message in this book is an invitation to miss the judgment of God but it takes ACTION.
* The prophet Amos echoes this message in the sixth chapter he writes, “WOE to those who are at ease in Zion & to those who feel secure on the hill of Samaria.” Considering God’s impending judgment in 4 thoughts:
1. The Coming of Judgment – Notice the first two words of verse 2, “Hear this.” Almost every translation and paraphrase says the same thing. However, this phrase is more like a “listen up” or “pay attention” as it carries with it the idea and the message is important. Judgment is coming & you want to know it so that you can be prepared. He identifies both the leaders and the people to say, “Listen up.” If it were today, there might have been a ‘tone’ (like the emergency broadcast system) to get out attention.
a. The discernment – Of the many ways there are to discern things, asking rhetorical questions is very effective. Can you hear the inference in the tone of the question of “Has anything like this every happened?” Considering whom it is asking this question, our minds and souls should be stirred to understand exactly what it is that Jehovah/Yahweh has in mind. But here is the startling truth; Obviously God has something in mind which is unlike anything seen by this generation. When we are reminded of some of the atrocities which this generation has witnessed and then think that God will top all of these, we should discern that judgment is on the way.
b. The disclosure – To read verse 3 is to understand that, as holders of the truth, we should disclose the truth. Truth is not truth simply when we ‘like it’, but it is truth-no matter what! Part of the sad situation of the 21st century “Americanize church” is that we have discarded the truth of God in relation to His judgment. His right judgment is based on justice.
Judgment is Coming – Pg 2
* Amos 5:24 says, “Let justice roll like water and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.” Not only has we better know (discern) and tell (disclose) that God’s judgment is coming, but we might want to know what it will be like! Look at the;
c. The devastation – God compares His judgment to four types of locust. Let me say that the picture of the locusts is a picture of total destruction. The HCSB uses the terms, devouring-swarming-young-destroying to describe these insects. Some think these insects are illustrating armies of humans going across the land, while others think the prophet is speaking of the 4 stages of a locust’s life, and others think its four different types of bugs. Such are the arguments which make for meaningless talk and a great deal of debate, but let’s not miss the truth; the land will be destroyed and it will be the judgment of God on the wicked land & the wickedness of the land.
2. The Contents of Judgment – What is it that we see in this judgment? What is it that makes up this judgment? Just like we pick up a package of food and read the ingredients, it is desirable that we looks at the elements of this:
a. The absence of a godly embrace – At first blush verse 5 appears to have a practical side to it as it refers to ‘wine drinkers’, ‘drunkards,” and ‘wine drinkers.” Obviously, there is a message to those who lean on the bottle instead of the blood for strength. However, I find precursor to the theology of the New Testament right here with reference to ‘wine’ and ‘sweet wine.’ Generally, sweet wine is this year’s wine or new wine. Jesus’ described His ministry as one of ‘new wine’ which meant ‘spirit-powered’. Thus, to have the sweet wine taken from your mouth is to have a void of the Holy Spirit. When the “Day of the Lord” comes and the “Redeemed of the Lord” are taken away, the Holy Spirit will exit with them. One facet of God’s judgment will be no godly embrace which will unleash;