Joel 2:18 NIV Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on hispeople. 19 The LORD will reply to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations.
20 “I will drive the northern army far fromyou, pushing it into a parched and barrenland, with its front columns going into theeastern sea and those in the rear into thewestern sea. And its stench will go up; its smell will rise.” Surely he has done great things. 21 Be not afraid, O land; be glad andrejoice. Surely the LORD has done great things.
22 Be not afraid, O wild animals, for the open pastures are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig treeand the vine yield their riches. 23 Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you theautumn rains in righteousness. He sendsyou abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.
24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. 25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust andthe young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sentamong you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. 28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on myservants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens andon the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved;for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem therewill be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
I begin and end today with one thought-“GOD IS FOR US”! That is, God is for His people. Those who are blood-bought, born-again, & redeemed. God is for us inthat He wants the best for all His children. Lest I be misunderstood, for those who are not a member of the „family of God‟,God is for you also. He is so much for you that He allowed Jesus, His one and onlySon, to be used and abused to the point of death for you.
Jesus died on the cross for your sinswhich means your penalty of sin has been paid by Jesus‟ death. He rose from thegrave to give you new life. The incredible part is that; with all of this being done byGod, He requires a decision from you. Heis for you as He desires for you to acceptHis offer of forgiveness through His Son.
It is only in that decision you can born, bought, and adopted into God‟s family! Then there exists an entirely NEW way in which God is for you. He is now not only your creator, He now becomes yourheavenly Father. As such, you become the „apple of His eye.‟ He desires for you to become all you were created to become.
Additionally, as we have read in our text, God will then go to the mat for you! He has already gone to the grave so what more can He do? Here what more Hedoes: He stands for us in the time of His greatest judgment! In reading theprophecy of Joel, we discover that when time draws to a close,
God will judge the sin & unbelief found in this world and He will judge them harshly. He will do this because God cannot andwill not tolerate sin in His presence now orin the world to come. That being said, God goes the extra step to protect His people through the judgment. Last week, God called for repentance from the corruptways which His people had embraced and then made a plea for fasting, weeping, and mourning.
In other ways, He desired for His people to be sorry enough for their sin that theysincerely wept, prayed, & returned to Him so that the lost culture would know that Jehovah was their God. Now, we are ready to move to verse 18 & discover what He says to us;
18 NIV Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people. In verses 18-28 we find when God‟s people come in brokenness andrepentance for their sin that He took & He takes ACTION!
The text says, He will be jealous (zealous) for his land and take pity on (spare, commiserate with) his people, then He promised what He would do with the works of His hands. No matter how far you‟ve fallen God will still bring you back to Himself with His hands.Now, what does He promise His people?
19 The LORD will reply to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to thenations. One of the reasons for studyingGod‟s word in a verse by verse manner isto understand the nuances of what He is telling us. Do you remember verse 4 of Chapter 1?
Joel 1:4 NIV What the locust swarm hasleft 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. How about after the locust come and ravage the land? Then we read of the havoc brought about by the “Day of the Lord.” It is like the aftermath of a war. To reside in a war torn land is (for me) unimaginable.
The best I can offer is that you spend time attempting to make sense from non- sense! To look at the landscape as hasbeen depicted in this text is to get a sense of a war-torn land, with people almost wandering aimlessly, and into thissituation comes the Father saying, “Don‟t lose hope, I‟m still in charge.”
So into the midst of the barrenness of the land God sends the essentials to His people. He doesn‟t send just enough to get by.The Scriptures are clear God desires not to give us only what is necessary, but more than we could ever need.
Malachi 3:10 NIV Bring the whole tithe intothe storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says theLORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
Jesus said, Give, and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will bepoured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive." Luke 6:38 NET
He completely satisfies, gives them full to overflowing, in fact, He sends so muchthat they get weary of it. This reminds me of the manna in the wilderness. The applications here are plenty. In thosedays, God will provide all that His children need and more.
Spiritually, whatever you may need (i.e.help, hope, healing, etc) God will supply.Paul writes, And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NETHe is my provision, but He doesn‟t stop at just providing with His hand, next see;
20 “I will drive the northern army far fromyou, pushing it into a parched and barrenland, with its front columns going into theeastern sea and those in the rear into thewestern sea. And its stench will go up; its smell will rise.” Surely he has done great things.
21 Be not afraid, O land; be glad and rejoice. Surely the LORD has done great things. 22 Be not afraid, O wild animals, for the open pastures are becominggreen. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.
Admittedly, this passage can be seen in light of history or prophecy, that is what has already happen and/or what is goingto happen; but I suggest that the principle we are to grasp is that God protects His people. Now, He doesn‟t keep us from everything that might cause us pain because the valley of pain is God‟s workshop in our lives. Very little has thepower to draw us nearer to God than pain.
In the life of a believer, one might detecttheir maturity level by the amount of pain required to force them to turn to God forhelp. It‟s kind of like parents guiding theirchildren. The less mature the children the more pressure is required to get them torespond, while the more mature the child the less pressure required.
So God doesn‟t protect us from every little pain, but in the face of the catastrophefound in God‟s judgment we can discover God‟s protection. When we depend on Him, He will drive out our enemies and banish them out of our sight.
James writes, So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7 NETWhen we resist evil, we release God to dobattle for us and God can finish any battle in which He is engaged. Not only will He drive them out He will put them to death.
23 Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice inthe LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. 24 The threshing floors will be filled withgrain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust andthe young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sentamong you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. In the New Testament, Jesus encourages planning.
Luke 14:28 NET For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesnt sit down first andcompute the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? In other words, before you begin something, make sure you have a good plan. Within God‟s judgment of sin, God has a plan for HIS PEOPLE. With the works of His hands and the words of His mouth God says, “Be Glad and Rejoice in the LORD.”
Even in the midst of persecution andstruggle, the word is “Rejoice.” Nehemiah tells us “the Joy of the Lord is your strength”, (Neh 8:10) in Paul‟s writing the second fruit of the spirit listed is joy, (Gal 5:22) the angel told the shepherds hebrought good news of great „joy‟, (Luke 2:10)in the upper room Jesus told the disciples that your sorrow will turn to „joy.‟ (John 16:22)
The plan of God formed by His own handis for His people to be a people of joy! It‟snot simply joy about being joyful, rather it is the joy found IN THE LORD! Here is what we need to get our minds & hearts around; God‟s people should be rejoicing folks. Next month, we celebrate “RESURRECTION DAY,” our Lord is alive!
When someone dies and then rises from the dead for me, everything else should become a snap. Sadly, when a preacher says something like this people roll their eyes and say something like, “yea, butyou don‟t understand my situation.” MaybeI don‟t, but He does and it‟s not a surprise to Him.
If God had the crucifixion under control and how that would work out, I know whatever you have going on, God has ahandle on it. In God‟s hands lay the plans for your life. Trust Him. He is for you.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dreamdreams, your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will beturned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
32 And everyone who calls on the name ofthe LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
In verses 27-32, we can grasp what Goddesires for us as His „Crown Creation.‟ His heart is for us to become as we once were. When God created the first man & woman, they were perfect, walking inperfect harmony with their creator. This is where He is leading us, where His heart desires to take us, and where His people will one day abide.
In verse 27, we see that His heart is for us to be clear in our knowledge & commitment to Him. He wants us to be„with Him.‟ How does He help? Verses 28- 32a is the text that Peter quotes in Acts 2 at Pentecost. The fulfillment did not end on Pentecost. According to God‟s Word immersed believers have the Spirit working in their lives today.
28a“And afterward, I will pour out mySpirit…31b before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. Most Commentators indicate afterward is referring to “the last days” which is the Christian age. God pouring out His Spirit on the earth after the Battle of Gog andMagog can‟t be the only fulfillment. Peter‟s said it was being fulfilled at Pentecost.
According to Peter & Paul‟s words the Gift of God‟s Spirit is working in immersed believers lives today. The Spirit is activewhen we come to Christ in our conversion. Acts 2:38 NET Peter said to them,"Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:11 NET Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Throughout the New Testament we see the Spirit working in, through & for us. Inthose times after God‟s judgment, whether in the days of Israel and Judah‟s rebellion or in the time known as the Second Coming
or even today, in the aftermath of Spiritual and moral devastation which decimatesthe land, our God is ready to pour out HisSpirit on us. It seems God is raining downHis Spirit today and we may be missing it. The heart of God is to commune with us daily. I think in the heart of God rests thedesire to always reach to His people withHis Spirit to bring about spiritual renewal.
Never doubt the strength and even the resolve of God. He designed this world, including you & me, as HIS OWN. Fromthe garden when man fell until today, man & land remains in rebellion to God. In thelast days (which by definition we are living in) He will display His strength in the heavens.
At another time, we may consider the end- time prophecies as the Bible lays them out, but hear this, “At His word both Heaven & earth will pass away & everything you and I count as importanton this earth will be gone.” He will do it but He has made a way out for fallen mankind.
I have said „reclaiming of God‟s salvation‟ because the first man & woman knew God‟s salvation only to walk away from it in their selfish rebellion. Jesus came that we might regain and reclaim what God intended for us in the beginning of time.
Don‟t take this to mean that God, in His sovereignty, was caught off guard by thedisobedience in the garden, but rather, tothat first couple was paradise, perfection, and a choice. Today, you are given achoice. God calls and you respond. He is for you.
He has proven this on many occasions and in many ways. But in His being foryou, He will not overlook your sin. Your sin cost Jesus his earthly life. Now, God working in your spirit, is drawing you to call on Him. Will you do so?