Monday, May 31, 2021

2021.05.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joel 1:8–20

Read Joel 1:8–20

Questions from the Scripture text: What does He command them to do in Joel 1:8? Like whom? What has been cut off (Joel 1:9)? From where? Who mourns in verse 9? Who serve Whom? What five things combined to produce this complete judgment (Joel 1:10)? Whom does Joel 1:11 tell to be ashamed? Whom to wail? For what two things that have perished (verse 11c–d)? What has dried up (Joel 1:12)? What has withered (verse 12b)? What other kinds of trees? What has this resulted in withering away from whom? Who are commanded to do what two things in Joel 1:13a? What does verse 13b call them? And command them to do? What does verse 13c command, for how long, in what attire; and what does verse 13d now call them? What other service isn’t currently an option, and why (verse 13e–f)? What are they commanded to do in Joel 1:14a? And to call what in verse 14b? Whom are they to gather in verse 14c? And whom else in verse 14d? And whom else does this imply (Joel 1:2-3)? Where are they to go (Joel 1:14e), and what are they to do there (verse 14f)? Where can we find the content of what they are to cry out (Joel 1:15-18)? Over what, first (Joel 1:15a–b)? Why, what about this day (verse 15c)? What shows that this is a day of judgment (Joel 1:16a)? And why is this cutting off of food significant (verse 16b)? What happens when they plant (Joel 1:17a)? What are falling apart from being empty (verse 17b)? And what are breaking down from being empty (verse 17c)? Why are they empty (verse 17d)? Who else is mourning (Joel 1:18a)? Who else is troubled (verse 18b), and why (verse 18c)? Who else is suffering (verse 18d)? Who is the first to heed the prophet’s message (Joel 1:19a)? What has he seen that confirms the commanded cryings out (verse 19b–c, cf. Joel 1:17; and, Joel 1:20, cf. Joel 1:18)?

We don’t know how to mourn the loss of public worship, because we don’t know how to rejoice over worship like a bride on her wedding day (Joel 1:8). Our flesh is too dull toward the Lord Himself. But the Lord gave His people help.

By making Israel’s worship liturgy dependent upon the most basic food staples, He gave them an early warning system. The farmers would be the first to know when God was withholding covenant blessing (Joel 1:11). And He made Israel to feel how essential worship was by calling a large number of them to lead that worship as their vocation (Joel 1:9)—using the first-fruits of the farmers’ produce (Joel 1:10).

Eventually, everyone would be made to feel the loss of the worship. It wouldn’t just be the new wine and fresh oil that withered under the locusts that the Lord sent, but even all of the trees, from which the sons of Adam derived their fleshly joy (Joel 1:12). 

How could it get so far? The priests were neglecting their duty to be leaders of the people. They had to be commanded to affect themselves with the affliction of the lost worship (Joel 1:13). This is a desperate need for pastors and elders in the church, and for fathers/husbands in the home: that they be deeply affected with the things of God, and especially about the worship of God. How are they to lead those whom God has entrusted to them, if they themselves are not engaged with God? So, before calling the rest of the people together in Joel 1:14, God commands them in Joel 1:13 to lament, wail, and prostrate themselves all night. In Joel 1:19-20, Joel himself takes this responsibility personally, apparently even before completing authorship and delivery of this prophetic book.

The people perhaps found themselves “off the hook” for worship, and were comfortable with not gathering. How easily those who at first let attendance slide a little can find themselves content not to gather at all! So, they need to be gathered—and if the gathering for the rejoicing is not possible, then they need to be gathered for crying out, Joel 1:14.

How necessary this is! Because there is a day coming when all will be gathered before the Lord. And if in that day, He Himself is not your joy, you mustn’t imagine that you will have some other joy. No. For those who have not had God Himself as their joy, the Lord Jesus Himself as their joy, the day of the Lord is not a day of joy and gladness but a day of destruction from the Almighty (Joel 1:15).

What will that final day be like for you? If missing Him in His worship doesn’t cause you to grieve now, how greatly you will weep and wail then!

How do you feel about coming to public worship? How do you feel about missing it? What does this tell you about what the day of the Lord will be like for you?

Suggested songs: ARP130 “LORD, from the Depths” or TPH130A “LORD, from the Depths”


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