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July 19, 2022 - Joel 1-3

We don’t know much about Joel but his words to the elders and priests (for example, 1:2 & 1:9) likely mean he was not a member of either of these groups. And, of course, that’s OK. The word of the Lord came to Joel (1:1) and, so, we know him as prophet. Joel looks back on the destruction of Jerusalem and toward the coming Day of the Lord, which will be a day of destruction for his enemies but a time of restoration and abundance for his people, all consistent with God’s covenant faithfulness: “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else” (2:26-27).

Not only for Israel are the promises but for God’s people from all nations: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. . . . And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (2:28,32). In his sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter understood this fulfillment to have taken place as the gospel was preached to more and more: “This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh . . . And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’” (Acts 2:16-17, 21). With Israel, the nations sing:

Glad shalt thou be, with blessing crowned,

with joy and peace thou shalt abound;

yea, love with thee shall make his home

until thou see God's kingdom come.

He shall forgive thy sins untold:

remember thou his love of old;

walk in his way, his word adore,

and keep his truth for evermore. -- Robert Bridges (1899)

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