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Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Joel 1-3
We will complete the entire book of Joel today. As we get near to the end of the “old” testament, the books get shorter and shorter and so we move faster. We’ll find the same thing happens when we get to the letters in the “new” testament.
When was this book written? We don’t know exactly as there are no kings referenced so we can’t place ourselves in a particular time with that information. However, there are two prominent theories. One is that this took place around 835 BC when Joash was king, but as yet too young to actually rule. Thus, no mention of a king. The other theory is that this took place during the exile, and therefore they are not under a king at this point.
Who wrote this book? Joel is believed to be the author of this book.
A big theme of this book is what we know as “The Day Of The Lord”. The Bible actually says “The Day of YHWH”. The fact that His personal name is in there makes it – personal. Bet you didn’t see that coming!
In Joel we get a lot of descriptors of what the Day Of YHWH will be like and the swift judgement enacted upon His people. Pay attention, though, because even amid that judgement, we will STILL see YHWH offering opportunity for us to return. In fact, He continues to plead with us to do just that!
Here are some key verses that jumped out at me:
Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation. Joel 1:3
This is a continuation of the pattern YHWH set forth in Deuteronomy 11:19 when He was speaking of His commandments.
You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deut 11:19
It is not enough to know what YHWH has done for us. It is not enough to know the commandments for ourselves. It is not enough to know His word and teaching in our own minds. We are tasked with passing it on throughout our generations. We are to teach them, diligently to our children and impress the importance on them to such an extent that they teach them to their children and their children teach them to their children, etc. IF we follow YHWH our God with all our mind and all our soul and all our life, we will create a ripple effect that spans limitless generations – and THAT is the goal of telling them to your children.
This is not just some loving action we can do if we like.
It is something we are clearly told to do by the Father.
Joel 1:5 reminds us of the stupor that we live in when we are living in our sin, apart from YHWH. We are asleep to the truth, oblivious in our current relationship with the world and our sin, living our lives as foolish people lacking judgement rather than as wise people walking in the ways of YHWH.
After reading of the judgement and ensuing punishment, we come to YET ANOTHER point where the Father reminds us that we have an alternative.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster. Joel 2:12-13
This reminds me of what I feel is one of the most exciting moments in Scripture in Exodus 34:6-7.
Yet even now…. let’s camp on this for a minute. Many people see this constant entreating of us to return to Him, despite the judgement and repeated sin, and take it as an excuse to live however they want, planning on repenting with their last breath and getting in under the wire. But this betrays the state of our heart. This shows us to be wholeheartedly worshipping the god of self with a plan to abuse the grace of our Father. This is willful or high handed sin. Multiple high handed sins, actually.
Chase that rabbit trail and check out some of the times it is mentioned in the word to see the result. Here are some verses for ya: Numbers 15: 28-31, Hebrews 10:26-28.
There is another line in this verse that usually escapes our notice but it is incredibly significant and meaningful: “…rend your hearts, not your garments.” That is the ESV translation. NLT says “Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Tearing garments was an outward sign of grief, mourning, and distress.
The Father is being clear here: He wants inward change. Our hearts should be torn in two when we realize our sin and fall upon the ground before Him, asking for forgiveness and mercy rather than the judgement we deserve.
Joel 2:32 is another verse used to reduce following YHWH to being nothing more than saying you believe He is Lord, to do the least amount possible in order to be saved. But this, too, betrays our heart and puts us in a position where we are treating the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as if we are more clever than He. Like we can live how we want and then trick Him in the endgame. This is not how He works.
Joel 3:2 mentions the Valley of Jehoshaphat. This is the only place in the Bible this is mentioned. It could be that this is a literal place or it could be symbolic since Jehoshaphat means “YHWH has judged.”
I’m going to end my notes with a wonderful reminder in this crazy, upside down world that seems to turn upside down all over again each day here lately:
But YHWH is a refuge to His people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. – Joel 3:16
And with that, we have completed another book. Rak Chazak!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!