Thursday, July 09, 2009

Joel 1:1-4 Jehovah is God.

  1. The oldest of Samuel's two sons appointed by him as judges in Beersheba.
  2. A descendant of Reuben.
  3. One of David's famous warriors.
  4. A Levite of the family of Gershom.
  5. The second of the twelve minor prophets. He was the son of Pethuel. His personal history is only known from his book.
  6. He was a contemporary with Amos and Isaiah.
  7. His name means, Yahweh isGod, while this father’s name, Pethuel, means “vision of God”.

Unlike most of the other prophets, Joel does not state the period during which he preached. It is believed that the second of the twelve Minor Prophets, the son of Pethuel, probably prophesied in Judah, in the reign of Uzziah, about B.C. 800. some say earlier some later, but all about this time period. In his youth he may have known Elijah, and he certainly was a contemporary of Elisha. For us as the reader there is no great as the book is largely concerned with just one incident, a severe locust plague that appears to be set in Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside.

Joel was a man of vitality and spiritual maturity. A keen discerner of the times, he delivered God's message to the people of Judah in a vivid and impassioned style, with a precision and originality

The sovereignty of God and the inevitability of divine punishment for covenant unfaithfulness are dominant themes in Joel. So is Yahweh's compassionate forgiveness in response to repentance. The day of the Lord, both judgment and blessing aspects, is also a prominent theme. So we could say that the them of this book is: How God exercises His sovereignty when His people sin.

Joel 1:1The word of the LORD that came to Joel, son of Pethuel.

  1. From this verse there are two things that I think we should notice
    1. The first is that Joel gives a short lineage of himself a reference point. This is commonly seen among the prophets. This helps us connect the dots when it comes to finding out more about him. Hosea did this as did Micah and later Zephaniah.
    2. Second, is that this is God driven, that is the words are not his but the Lords. He is simply the mouthpiece of Yahweh. All the words and all the volume – i.e. power, come from God Almighty.

An Invasion of Locusts

Joel 1:2 Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers?

  1. The opening words of Joel are a call to receive instruction designed to arouse attentiveness: “Hear this!” Joel had a vital message for the people of Judah. He demands the attention of his fellow citizens because his message comes from God
  2. The Israelites, God’s Chosen people had traditionally held special services for a time of national mourning in response to a variety of misfortunes. The prophet was convinced that the time had come again for the community to meet in Jerusalem to hold such a service of lamentation in the temple.
  3. Notice who is addressed here. The older followers. They are addressed because they have the wisdom and memories that are need to recognize what has taken place.
  4. Joel knows they are a people who are dependant upon the Lord and what comes from the land.
  5. He asks them to look back across their lives and search their memories and see if anything of this magnitude has ever happened. Have you ever seen anything like this in all your years? Do you remember your parent or grandparents talking about anything of this severity taking place?

Joel 1:3 Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.

  1. Since the old men, the elders of the community are not able to remember such a tragedy from the years gone by they will need to tell it to their children, their grand children and even their great-grandchildren about the awful event.
  2. With the this great drama taking place in their lives the Prophet of God instructs them to teach what has happened to each generation. Much like the Shema would be passed down; the events that are taking place must be transferred successfully to each new generation.
  3. Hear the message and pass it down. We say things like “those who don’t study history are often doomed to repeat it in modernity. Let us to learn from these lessons and pass them on too.

4 What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has

  1. The Book of Joel opens with a extremely graphic and powerful description of the devastation caused by swarms of several kinds of locusts, accompanied by a terrible drought. Locusts destroying everything in an unprecedented plague
  2. The King James refers to the different types of locusts them the palmerworm, locust, canker worm, and the caterpillar
  3. The NIV refers to locust swarm, young locust, great locust and other locust. The generalness of this leaves some of the color out of the account.
  4. Even the Message captures this - Joel 1:4 What the chewing locust left, the gobbling locust ate; What the gobbling locust left, the munching locust ate; What the munching locust left, the chomping locust ate. This version may work best for children. It seems as if it word
  5. The fact that there are four kinds of locust listed is significant.
      1. The first school of thought is that they represent the amazing completeness of the devastation. That is they symbolize one swarm of locusts after another has invaded the land, and completely devoured its fruit. The use of several different words, and the division of the locusts into four successive swarms, of which each devours what has been left by its precursor. This seems highly likely.
      2. An additional view of the plague of locusts is that not only is it one of the most dreadful scourges of the East but it is an invasion of hostile legions such as have often ravaged Judea those who understand this see the locusts of Joel as the Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, or Romans.
      3. The locust may play a dual role in prophecy and represent both ideas.
      4. A third view is that Joel is only speaking poetically about the locust. In Hebrew there are at least nine different names to indicate the different species and/or stages of maturity.
      5. A final theory is that these are judgments much like those found in Jeremiah and Ezekiel
        1. Jeremiah 15:3 "I will send four kinds of destroyers against them," declares the LORD, "the sword to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.
        2. Ezekiel 14:21 "For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments--sword and famine and wild beasts and plague--to kill its men and their animals!
    1. The locust had robbed the land of life as all the crops have been eaten or ruined. This lead to an economy that was in turmoil, disrupted the country as a whole, threatened the security of the land, and deeply affected all levels of society. No one could escape the intensity of this as God’s abundance had been devoured by the locust and now a barren dust bowl was left after to storm of locust parted.
    2. With these hand full of verses as the opening to the grand theater we can see that Joel will be a interesting study.

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