November 16, 2020

Joel 1:15
Joel looms up out of nowhere, raises his voice, and then vanishes back into the shadows. He seems to have been the very first of the writing rophets. He wrote six dozen verses, that’s all. But for all that, this so called minor prophet was the herald of a major departure in the prophetic world. Joel wrote things down. 
Shakespeare makes the envious Cassius say about Julius Caesar: “Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus”! The same could have been said of Joel.
Two days occupied Joel—just two days. The first was the day of the locust. There had been rumors in Israel of a brewing plague in the southeastern deserts of the Middle East. Then one day the sky turned black and the locusts arrived. They descended by the millions on farm and field and forest. They covered the ground to a depth of one and a half feet. They ate every stalk and every stem, every leaf and every twig. “Incarnate hunger” best describes what they were. When at last they moved on, they left utter devastation in their wake. It was a divine visitation and a herald of more to come.
Then there was the day of the Lord. Half a dozen prophets talk about this day, but it was Joel who mentioned it first. Four concepts whirled in Joel’s mind as he thought of this great judgment to come.
First, there were fading voices. It was only a matter of decades since the days of Elijah and Elisha. These two men, armed with might and miracle, had been a nine-day wonder in Israel. People remembered their miracles; but few remembered their message. Joel saw the need to write things down, to give people something more important than miracles, to give them a book.
The comfortable little Palestinian world was changing, and the age of the superpowers had arrived. The hostile neighboring countries of Moab, and Edom, and the like are nothing compared with Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome. Joel saw it coming on the wings of the wind, the destruction and the desolation, and the deportation, all the inevitable fruit of apostasy. God’s people would need something to hold on to. So, where Elijah produced miracles Joel produced a manuscript. 
Then there were former values. God had planned for Israel to be located in the crossroads of the continent so that they might be a testimony to all mankind, the world’s schoolmaster to bring people from many nations to Christ. A century of liberal theology, however had rendered Israel apostate and impotent. The old landmarks had been removed, the old faith had been replaced, and the old values had been erased. It called for judgement. 
So now the nation faced fearful vengeance. Had Israel remained true to its call, these Gentile superpowers would have come; but they would have come, not as warriors, but as worshipers. Before it was too late, Israel must repent. It was still too late in Joel’s day, but it was “repent-or else!
But Joel still had some good news. There were to be future visitations. His most important prophecy had to do with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It took eight hundred years for Joel prophecy of Pentecost to be fulfilled. But the outpouring did come, and we are living in the reality of it to this day. Thank you Joel. There was nothing minor about you!

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