Summary: God's grace not only forgives our sin, it also restores the negative aspects of our sin.
Text: Joel 2:18-27
1. Illustration: God does not hold our old sins against us, nor does He act like forgiveness is a favor to us, even though it is. When President Lincoln was asked how he would treat the rebellious southerners when they were defeated, he said, "I will treat them as if they had never been away.
2. In a world obsessed with getting even and holding on to a grudge, I am glad that we serve a God who consistently looks to forgive and forget.
3. One of the many benefits of the atonement of Christ is something called "justification," and the best way I've heard this described is "just as if I'd never sinned."
4. Not only does God forgive our sins, but he also restores what our sin robs from us.
5. God wants to...
A. God Wants To Restore Us
B. God Wants To Restore Our Blessings
C. God Wants To Restore What The Devil Stole From Us
6. Let's stand together as we read Joel 2:18-27.
Proposition: God's grace not only forgives our sin, it also restores the negative aspects of our sin.
Transition: The first thing that God wants to do is...
I. God Wants To Restore You (18-20).
A. The Lord Will Pity His People
1. It's human nature to hold on to hurt, however, it is not God's nature. When he forgives he treats it as if it never happened.
2. In v. 18 the text turns from what God wants his people to do to what he is going to do. It says, "Then the LORD will pity his people and jealously guard the honor of his land."
A. The verb ("pity") looks inward toward the people rather than outward toward other interests.
B. Yahweh directs his compassion and pity on his suffering people, just as Pharaoh's daughter did on the crying baby Moses.
C. Verse 18 is a literary pivot in the book. Up to now, the problem has been presented and the response of the people has been called for.
D. Now God's response unfolds. It is not introduced here, however, since the possibility ("who knows?") of restoration was laid out in 2:14.
E. Now that possibility is reality ("the LORD will"). The same structure is found in the Flood story, which built up to the climax of God's remembering Noah (Baker, The NIV Application Commentary – Joel, Obadiah, Malachi: From biblical text...to contemporary life, 75).
3. Then the Lord says, "The LORD will reply, “Look! I am sending you grain and new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy your needs. You will no longer be an object of mockery among the surrounding nations."
A. God's promises expand in Joel 2:19, eradicating the problem and not simply making up for the loss of agricultural produce (1:10).
B. The uncertainty of God's "perhaps" of 2:14 now becomes the certainty of his "yes, I will."
C. In Hosea, God promises to respond to Israelite faithfulness by having the earth provide grain, wine, and oil (Hos. 2:21-22).
D. This happens "in that day," the Day of the Lord. God here responds (using the same verb, ?nh) through the same three agricultural products.
E. For Joel, these events following the Judean response to God fulfill Hosea's prophecy (Baker, 76).
4. Then the Lord vows, "I will drive away these armies from the north. I will send them into the parched wastelands. Those in the front will be driven into the Dead Sea, and those at the rear into the Mediterranean. The stench of their rotting bodies will rise over the land.” Surely the LORD has done great things!"
A. The locust army, now identified by its place of geographical origin ("army from the north,", will be driven away from the land, reversing the closeness of the coming at the Day of the Lord.
B. As Yahweh previously drove the plague of locusts away, so he now does with the encroaching army.
C. Since their arrival results in a dry and destroyed land, it is only appropriate that this be the locust's final destination, a "tit-for-tat" type of conclusion.
D. The huge size of the swarming army is indicated by its finally reaching between two seas.
E. From the perspective of those already settled within the land, these are "eastern" (Dead Sea) and "western" (Mediterranean Sea) respectively.
F. Their removal results in the death of the ousted locusts, killed by water and lack of food in the desert.
G. A rising "stench" often results from decaying organic material passages in the context of death in battle, continuing the military metaphor for the locusts (Baker, 76).
H. You have to love how this verse ends "surely the Lord has done great things!"
B. Come Back
1. Illustration: In a remote Swiss village stands a beautiful church - Mountain Valley Cathedral. It has high pillars and magnificent stained glass windows, but what makes it special is the most beautiful pipe organ in the whole region. People would come from far off lands just to hear the lovely tunes of this organ. One something went wrong with the pipe organ. It releases the wrong tones and sounds of disharmony. Musicians and experts from around the world had tried to repair it. No one could find the fault. It was made unique, customized and no one really knows how to fit it. They gave up. After some time, one old man came. "Why wasn’t the pipe organ used?" "It’s not playing right," says the church staff. "Let me try." Since it has been lying there, the staff reluctantly agreed to let the old man try his hand at it. For two days the old man worked in almost total silence. The church worker was, in fact, getting a bit nervous.