Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Sep 11, Joel 1-3

Today's readings are Joel 1-3. Tomorrow's are Dan 1-3. 

We know very little about the prophet Joel. Most scholars assume he lived in or near Jerusalem sometime shortly after the exiles returned from Babylon and Persia and perhaps after the rebuilding of the temple and the walls around Jerusalem.

Joel is unique in that it calls for repentance but never specifies what Israel is to repent of. He vividly describes a plague of locusts in Joel 1, one which devastates the land and even has an impact on worship in the temple. Joel prophesies this to be a warning sign and urges Israel to come together in prayer and fasting, asking for God's mercy. 

Once again, we see God's people called to assess their relationship with their Father in heaven and determine whether or not He is the highest priority in their lives. If we have learned anything from our overall Bible narrative up to this point, one of the major lessons should be in this thread of constant reminders and calls to repentance. Taking God and His blessings for granted always seems to land the Hebrews in a tough spot. Contrite, heartfelt repentance always garners His renewed blessing. 

Convincing ourselves to believe that something has changed about the character and nature of God now that Jesus has come denies that His arrival was part of the plan all along. These early lessons are intended to teach us how to relate to Christ (1 Cor 10:11). There is never a time in the history of the Jews when their sin was ignored or dismissed becasue "God is gracious." God is gracious and willing to forgive but sin must be dealt with on an ongoing basis. We see this clearly when the church, the saved church, is called to repent in Rev 2:4-5, 16, 21, 22; 3:3. 

Christ's work on the cross effectively deals with our sins but our devotion to Him and His holiness is expressed in our repentance. Repentance is the tool God has granted us (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim 2:25) that affords us the blessings of Christ's sacrifice . Without sincere repentance, there are consequences, which is exactly what we see in Joel. Repentance has been in God's plan of redemption from the beginning. 

Joel 2 warns of the arrival of another enemy who will come against Jerusalem in the same manner the locusts came. That army will be destroyed by God. The land will be restored and the people will turn back toward God (Joel 2:28-31.)

We see the ultimate destruction of all those who oppose God in Joel 3. His blessing will eternally rest on those who are His. 

Joel prophetically shows God supernaturally delivering His children from overwhelming opposition. It also shows God redeeming Israel. Both actions, while becoming a reality in Joel's time, are prophetic images of God's eternal judgment of those who oppose Him and His eternal blessing on those who are His.

No comments:

Post a Comment