Saturday, June 19, 2021

2021.06.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joel 2:18–27

Read Joel 2:18–27

Questions from the Scripture text: What two things will Yahweh do (Joel 2:18), when His people have repented as instructed in Joel 2:12-17? What will He say (Joel 2:19)? What will He do? What will He stop doing? What will He do to the invader (Joel 2:20)? With what effect? Why—what effect has the invader had? What should the land stop doing (Joel 2:21? What should the land start doing? Why—Who else has had the same effect in verse 21 as the invader has in Joel 2:20? Who else is not to fear (Joel 2:22)? Why? Who are to do what in Joel 2:23a? In what (Whom!), especially, are they to rejoice (verse 23b)? How will the drought conclude (verse 23c–d)? With what results (Joel 2:23-24)? How will the restoration occur (Joel 2:25a)? With what effects (Joel 2:25b–Joel 2:26a)? How will the people then respond (verse 26b)? Why (verse 26c)? With what effects (verse 26d)? What will they then know about God’s active presence (Joel 2:27a)? And about His relationship with them (verse 27b)? And about Him (verse 27c)? With what (again) effect (verse 27d)? 

In these ten verses, we have the response of the Lord to the repentance that He has commanded, and that they have evidently followed: reaction (Joel 2:18), refreshment (Joel 2:19a–c), restoration (Joel 2:19d–Joel 2:20), rejoicing (Joel 2:21-23b), redemption (Joel 2:23c–Joel 2:25), reverence (Joel 2:26), and reconciliation (Joel 2:27).

Reaction (Joel 2:18). The Lord has commanded His people to repent with their hearts, and He responds to our repentance with zeal and pity. There is in God that perfect disposition toward His repenting people of which the most intense human zeal and the warmest human compassion are just a copy. What a marvelous “reaction” from our God!

Refreshment (Joel 2:19a–c). Whereas the Lord had used His creation to make His people feel their neediness of Him, He now uses it to make them feel His abundance for that need. The covenant relationship is restored, the covenant blessings begin to flow again, and not just in the renewed supply (verse 19b) but in a renewed satisfaction (verse 19c). Of course, the first provision isn’t actually grain and new wine and oil, but the Word (verse 19a, “Yahweh will answer and say to His people). Now the resurrected Redeemer refreshes His people in Word and sacrament, giving them not merely sounds in their ears and snacks in their mouths, but giving Himself to their souls.

Restoration (Joel 2:19d–Joel 2:20). With the covenant relation restored, the Lord takes away their shame (Joel 2:19d, cf. Joel 2:26d, Joel 2:27d); they no longer appear as a people under judgment. Instead, those by whose mandibles He had judged them now themselves come under judgment. There will always be vindication and vengeance for you, dear believer, even if you deserved and needed what the enemy has done to you. 

Rejoicing (Joel 2:21-23b). We had seen in chapter 1 that the land mourned (Joel 1:10), and the beasts groaned (Joel 1:18), in order to help the farmers, the priests, and indeed all of the people to mourn for the lack of their joy in the Lord. In a real sense, the earth and its creatures had been cursed for their sake. And now that it’s time for the people to rejoice, He once again uses the land and its creatures to lead the way. The greatness of the restoration (Joel 2:21c) has exceeded the greatness of the chastening (Joel 2:20g). The time for fear has passed, the time for gladness and rejoicing has come! 

Redemption (Joel 2:23c–Joel 2:25). The children of Zion are brought to rejoice in Yahweh their God not only by circumstances, but again by words, and indeed by a great Preacher. There’s a play on words in Joel 2:23c that is obscured by our version. It uses a homonym so that the same form for “former rain” in verse 23e should probably be “teacher” in verse 23c, and that line should read “For He has given you the Righteous Teacher.” 

The Lord uses His Word to bring His people back and to announce to them their blessedness. Though this surely included Joel himself, and those priests who fulfilled his prophecy’s call upon them, it is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, our great Prophet and Righteous Teacher.

Not only does God’s Righteous Teacher bring us back, but the years that we spent in error or under discipline are not ultimately lost. As the blessing of God starts to pour back down (Joel 2:23d–e), there is enough both for the moment and for filling/overflowing the storage (Joel 2:24), until the effects of the locust army are entirely reversed (Joel 2:25). 

It is the opposite of Pharaoh’s dream that Joseph interprets in Genesis 41; this is fullness so great that it wipes out the effects of the famine. This is God’s way with His repenting people; He takes away their grief by bringing them to a better place than they would have been in if they had been steady from the start.

Reverence (Joel 2:26). The ultimate blessing, however, is satisfaction with God and adoring of God. It’s one thing to eat plenty, but many people do so without contentment; it is a separate and greater gift to be satisfied (verse 26a). And it is one thing to be satisfied with God’s gifts, but it is a separate and greater gift to be satisfied with the God of the gifts Himself (verse 26b). Being restored to a God-delighted worshiper is the greatest blessing of all. God brings us into the true riches when He brings us into reverence! This is God’s great work on earth (verse 26c), and those who are made worshipers in this way will find their joy to be full and forever (verse 26d, cf. Romans 10:11). 

Reconciliation (Joel 2:27). Indeed, for the one who has been brought to treasure God above all else, there is one blessing higher than the privilege of adoring God; and, that is the communicated presence of the God he adores. Yahweh Himself in their midst (verse 27a), Yahweh Himself as their own (verse 27b–c)—that is the ultimate, full-and-forever blessedness of the people of God (verse 27d).

Of what do you need to repent? How does desire for these blessings encourage and begin this repentance?

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH73C “In Sweet Communion, Lord with Thee”


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