Commentary on the book of Joel by Jason W
The Book of Joel
Theme: Repent in a day of locusts, and be delivered in the Day of the Lord
- The call to address the current condition
Joel addressed the authorities as well as the rest of the nation about their problem. The country had become desolate because of a great pelage of locust that had sweep across the country. This national tragedy left Joel with a perfect opportunity to declare that the people needed to seek God.
- Desolated land from locust plague
The locusts came in innumerable swarms that would consume the vegetation of the land. They would come four waves and take even the bark and branches off trees. Their hunger compelled them to bite humans with the sting of a lion. The drunkards will be the first to realize the full effect of the devastation because all of the fruit of the vine is gone. Their desire to drink was not be satisfied because their was nothing to satisfy it with.
- Need for repentance
Joel tells the people that they need to express grief over the condition just like a wife whose husband-to-be dies before they are married or a wife who losses her only son who can carry on the family name.
i. Neglect of God’s house
The priests in the Temple could not do the meat and drink offerings because there were no supplies to perform the offering. The locusts had consumed the necessary supplies for these sacrifices. This lack of supplies for the needs of the House of God caused the priests to morn instead of praise the Lord.
ii. Need for food
With fields wasted, vineyards dried up, oil in need, and other staple items completely gone food has become an invaluable item. All the prominent and prosperous sources of food similar to pomegranate tree, palm tree, apple tree, were completely devoured by the locusts.
iii. Need of morning
Joel calls for the priests and those who work with the things of the temple to lament lie all night in sackcloth because they had held back the meat and drink offerings from God.
- How to repent
Joel calls the people to fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders, and all the people to the house of God, so that they could cry unto God to deliver them from this terrible condition.
Joel makes a shift from talking about the current need of Israel and Judah to the future Day of the Lord. He describes how their will be famine and locusts again.
- The future day of the Lord
This time when the Lord comes will cause all the inhabitants of the land to tremble before him.
- Description of the Day of the Lord
It will be a day of darkness and gloominess, full of clouds and thick darkness, famine due to the seas of locusts that will devour all lush vegetation before them and turn it into wasteland. The locusts will be as swift as trained warhorses. The sounds that will come from this mass swarm of insects will sound like chariots or fire leaping back and forth. They will run in their ranks as an army and climb into homes and buildings without even pushing upon each other to break their ranks. The faces of the people will be blackened with fear, because they can do nothing to stop them. The swarms of locusts will be so great that during the day, the sun will be darkened during the night the moon and stars will be darkened.
- Deliverance in the Day of the Lord
i. Requirements for deliverance
God wants His people in the Day of the Lord to fast with weeping and morning, have a broken heart and seek Him. God is merciful, slow to anger, and overflowing with kindness. Nothing should be more important than seeking the Lord for deliverance form the condition of the world.
ii. Repercussions of deliverance
The Lord will pity his people and will answer their prayer and fasting with the surplus of food. He will no longer allow his people to be a reproach among the heathen and he will take away the army from the north.
iii. Reasons to rejoice in deliverance
God will do great things and their will be no need to fear for the wellbeing of the livestock or the fruits, or figs, or vines. He will send abundant rain until the fields are full of wheat and there is an excess of wine and oil. All the years that have been destroyed by insects (God’s army), will be restored by God and his presence will be with his people. The people of God will have no need to be ashamed.
- The last days before the Day of the Lord
i. Blessings in the last days before the Day of the Lord
God will pour out His Spirit to all flesh so that sons and daughters will be able to prophesy, old men dream dreams, young men see visions, and even the lowliest of servants will be able to receive the Spirit of God.
ii. Judgment in the last days before the Day of the Lord
God will show wonders in heaven and earth with blood, fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun will turn dark while the moon turns to blood.
iii. Deliverance offered before the Day of the Lord
The Lord will give deliverance to all those who call upon Him for their deliverance.
iv. The Jews will be returning from the lands of captivity
v. God will bring the nations together to the Valley of Jehoshaphat for judgment.
- Condition of the nation of Israel
The people of Israel and Judah will be sold for the adultery and wine that the heathen may satisfy their desires. However, God will judge the heathen and sell their sons and daughters into Judah.
- Application to this information
- Proclaim the message to the heathen
God will deliver all those who call on him for repentance. God also will pour out His spirit upon all flesh.
- Prepare for war
God’s judgment of the nations is coming. All the nations will assemble to fight and God will show His wrath for those who have oppressed His people.