|Guest author Keith Tysinger writes The Mighty God Blog|
The book of Joel takes on a familiar theme. The motif of God’s people finding trouble and ultimately God’s deliverance is seen throughout the OT. In these terms, the book is important today. The book is of special importance because Joel’s prophecy was for a future generation – a timeframe that overlaps our time, and culminates with the return of the Lord.
The book opens telling of a great locust plague that had caused abject famine in that day (Joel 1, NIV):
Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.
The locusts left the Jewish people with nothing. They were not even able worship God with their first-fruits and offerings (v. 9). Panic and unmitigated sadness filled the Jewish day (v. 12). Most Christians can relate to the locust invasion on some level. Especially in the current economy, it is very possible to be on top of the world one day and nearly destitute the next.
As with any catastrophe, collective or personal, God always provides a remedy. God exhorted the elders to “put on sackcloth” and to “declare a holy fast.” In Christian terminology, God wanted His people to repent and acknowledge Him (v. 2:13). It’s funny how the church wants everyone else to change their ways, but sometimes it is the church that needs to repent and acknowledge God. Indeed, sometimes the problem is our own compliancy.
Although the book was probably written during the reign of King Joash (835-796 B.C.), St. Peter recognized its prophetic significance during the first century AD. “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16, KJV). Peter continued, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy …”
Joel declared a time would come when not only the King could know God, as was believed in that day, but common people would come to know God. The Religious Order would no longer hold the copyright to salvation, but everybody – just anybody – could know God. In fact, Joel states that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (2:32).
We are living in that timeframe now, which St. Peter called the “Last Days.” We can now, through Jesus, call upon God directly. We can know God personally. We can be saved from the judgment that will soon follow. God has provided us the ultimate remedy through His Son.
© Keith Tysinger. Used by permission.