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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Joel 2

Verses 1-27

  1. Intro:
    1. Blow the shofar – Means? – To alarm, or to Gather.
  2. ALARM! (1-14)
    1. Right up front let me say that some scholars think Joel is describing only a locust swarm, some think an invasion by Assyria or Babylon, still others of the coming day of the Lord…so which is it?
      1. I believe all 3!
      2. Joel described in ch.1 the locust swarm. Now he sounds the warning of the coming “day of the Lord”. Still using Locust analogies.
        1. Let’s read vs.1-11
      3. See “day of the Lord” bookends(1 & 11).
      4. Joel depicted what the locust look like(4); sound like(5); & approach like(7-9).
        1. They say a locust swarms noise can be heard 6 miles off! And has been likened unto a loud waterfall, a torrent, a rushing wind, or a raging flame.
    2. (10) A desert locust swarm that crossed the Red Sea in 1889 was estimated to cover 2,000 square miles. [Zondervan Pict. Encyc. Pg.949]
    3. (11) It is a day in which Jehovah will break silence & intervene in history to judge both Israel & the gentile nations.
      1. A couple reminders: [1] the day of the Lord’s is a day of God’s judgment. [2] The day is still future. [3] It is accompanied by a time of great trouble on earth. [4] It is to be followed by the reign of God through his Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
    4. Joel is again sounding an alarm so those facing the 2nd or greater invasion might get ready for it!
    5. Joel’s Goal…Repentance! (12-14)
      1. At the 11th hour, when destruction seems imminent!
      2. So this is no surprise why this next section deals with repentance!
        1. A little different from Jonah’s message of, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" (i.e. he wasn’t going to give them any hints about possible repentance & forgiveness)
      3. Joel 1st gives an analysis of true repentance (12,13a), & then incentives for it(13b,14)!
      4. Analysis!
        1. ​​​​​​​Outward expressions of an inward state are both right & valuable.
        2. But what Joel is against is outward expression that does not correspond with reality.
        3. It is a whole lot easier for us to do the opposite…to rend our garments instead of our hearts! – But God wants us heartbroken!
        4. Turn back a page to Hosea 14:1,2 for a perfect description of true repentance!
          1. They include acknowledging sin; confessing it; & an appeal toGod not based upon our good works(based solely on His grace!)
        5. This is what Joel wanted to see, this is still what God wants to see in us today!... “ALL your heart!”
          1. All of your emotions, personality, intellect, affections, thoughts, & your will…centered upon the Lord.
          2. Turn to me with a Total heart(12 “all”); w/a Torn heart(13a “rend”); w/a Turned heart(13b “return”).
        6. [1] Confess specific sins!
          1. Is it really repenting when we generically say I’m sorry? {It begs the question: what are you repenting of?}
        7. [2] Genuine Sorrow!
          1. Ps.51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise.”
          2. Contrition is deeper than regret! – It is sensing our guilt & weeping within.
          3. "Blessed are the poor in spirit,…Blessed are those who mourn(over sin),”
          4. To “mourn over our sins” has been explained, like a spiritual winter. Then comes the springtime of God’s comfort!
        8. [3] Conversion!
          1. Joel uses turn & return!
          2. Convert – (Latin) con=around & verto=to turn {to turn around}.
          3. Repentance – refers to a change of mind. (a change so basicthat the direction of one‘s life is altered)
          4. Forsake your self-chosen paths of rebellion; come to your senses; recognize me as your God; & follow my instructions!
          5. It’s like this: You are facing yourself,…behind you is the Lord Jesus Christ…turn around!
      5. Incentives!
        1. Read vs.13b. {It doesn’t get better than this!}
        2. Gracious – Inclined to pardon the repentant sinner.
        3. Merciful – Possessing mercy in abundance.
        4. Slow to anger – (Wycliffe) “The Lord does not permit his anger to break forth immediately as an avalanche upon the discovery of sin, but he waits to see if the sinner will repent.”
      6. (13) “Relents” – How does God repent/relent?
        1. God doesn’t change his mind but he does change His attitudes & actions.
          1. So it seems that God is here depicted in terms of the human experience of knowledge & emotion.
          2. The immutable & sovereign God deals appropriately with changes of human behavior.
          3. (i.e.) When man repents God “changes His mind” with regard to the blessing or punishment appropriate to the situation.
      7. “God’s judgment is a waiting, wise judgment. It is never at the mercy of an irrational temper, impulsiveness, or misinformation. It always responds at exactly the right time & in exactly the right measure. And when His people repent, God’s judgment steps aside to let His mercy & grace flow!” (Chuck Swindoll; pg.17,18. Vol.3)
  3. ASSEMBLY! (15-17)
    1. ​​​​​​​(16) The gladness of the bridegroom & his bride are exchanged for sincere sadness.
    2. “Where is their God”(17) is answered in the next section.
  4. ANSWER! (18-27)
    1. ​​​​​​​Here is the turning point of this book.
    2. “We had an Alarm & the Assembly; now we have the Answer from the Lord!”
    3. (19) Joel had faith…. “The Lord will answer!”
    4. (21-27) God was not only to drive away the locust of judgment & restore the pastures, but also bless them with “Bumper Crops” & even make up for wasted years(25)!
    5. (25) You can’t have your time back but there is a strange & wonderful way in which God can give back to you the wasted blessings.
      1. We have a God who delights in impossibilities & who asks, “Is anything too hard for me?”(Jer.33:27)
      2. Phillips Brooks said, “…the only way to get rid of your past is to make a future out of it. God will waste nothing.”
    6. (25b) My great army which I sent among you –
      1. Hos.6:1 “Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.”
    7. (27) Why is he going to bless them so much? Because they deserve it…no way! - But so other nations would know He is the Lord!
      1. Here is one of the strongest statements of mono-theism in the whole O.T.
        1. Coming back from India I understand this clearly.
      2. This refers back to the 1st of the 10 commandments.
        1. Ex.20:2,3 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. "You shall have no other gods before Me.”
        2. If one worships the one true God & Him only, then the moral standards of this God will inevitably guide the worshiper in other areas.
      3. Q: What if I don’t worship Baal, Zeus, or Molech?
        1. We break it whenever we give some person or some thing 1st place in our affections that belong to God alone.
        2. Maybe this substitute is “yourself” or your opinion of yourself!
        3. Maybe it is success, material possessions, fame, or personal power over others.
      4. Jesus said, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "This is the first and great commandment.
      5. We need to see all things from this vantage point! – This should be our guide our aim. – To put Him 1st in thoughts; word & deed; in business & leisure; in friendships & career; in the use of our money; time & talents; at work & at home…WHY???
        1. Because of who God is & because of what he has done!
      6. Who God is:
        1. He is w/o beginning & end “I am who I am”.
        2. He is self-existent. No one created Him.
        3. he is self-sufficient. He needs no one.
        4. Any god less then this is no God!
        5. It is because of WHO He is that demands our worship!
      7. What He has done:
        1. This applies primarily to Israel who was delivered from slavery from Egypt (Ex.20). But it also applies to any who have experienced deliverance, whether from death or slavery, or poverty or disease. In addition the deliverance must also apply to spiritual matters.

Verses 28-32

  1. Intro:
    1. Dorothy Sayers tells of a Japanese convert struggling to grasp Christian theology. “Honorable Father, very good. Honorable Son, very good. But Honorable Bird, I do not understand at all.” (Intro by Philip Yancey in Robertson McQuilkins book, Life in the Spirit.)
      1. Tonight we are going to talk not about “the Honorable Bird”, but about God the Spirit.
      2. Q: Do you have any Holy Spirit hang ups?
    2. One pastor joked, “We Presbyterians believe in God the Father, you Baptist in God the Son, & the Pentecostals in God the Spirit”.
      1. So the church has seemed to have done a wonderful job in dissecting God into 3 equal parts, & making the Triune God into Tri-theism.
    3. The section we will take tonight is actually ch.3 in the Hebrew bible.
      1. So, it is its own section.
    4. This section is like Joel waking up one day & finding a Lap Top lying next to his bed. Then describing it.
      1. He’s describing something off into the future.
      2. what a wild concept back then to have the H.S. on everyone.
    1. ​​​​​​​These verses refer especially to the future day of the Lord, but Peter’s use of them at Pentecost suggests that they have a spiritual application today. (let’s go there Acts 2:17-21)
    2. “All flesh(mankind)” – Ultimately fulfilled in the millennium.
    3. What Peter had to say regarding this:
      1. What happened at Pentecost was the beginning of God’s blessing on Israel.
      2. He 1st shares about these outpourings “beginning”(17,18); then about its “ending”(19,20).
        1. Its dawning of this age & its sunset!
      3. Q: What was different regarding the H.S.’s role on that day of Pentecost?
        1. The Spirit previous to this was only poured out on a select few, & at special times with them.
        2. Q: Name an example of the H.S. coming upon someone in the OT?
        3. Q: Name an example of the H.S. being taken away in the OT?
      4. Let’s run back to Moses & hear his heart on this subject.
        1. Numb.11:16-29 (esp.29)
    4. All would be ministers of God:
      1. Not merely a special corps of workers…but “all”.
      2. The Holy Spirit is the Master Equalizer!
        1. Col. 3:11 “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”
      3. A new era had emerged.
        1. ​​​​​​​Acts 2:42 “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,”
    5. All would have special tasks:
      1. They will not all necessarily do the same work…but all will have work to do.
      2. Also, all will be indwelt with the H.S. so that the work can be done effectively.
      3. The outpouring of God’s Spirit supercedes gender(sons/ daughters); supercedes age(old/young); & supercedes class (men/maidservants).
      4. History:
      5. Back in the reformation there was an important phrase that came forth, “priesthood of all believers”.
        1. Q: What do you think the Protestants were addressing?
        2. A: The Problem of the division between the “clergy” & “laity”.
      6. 3 false ideas have arisen:
      7. [1] The work of the church is to be done by those paid to do it. And the role of the layman is at best to support these works financially.
        1. Of course this is what caused most of the problems in R.C. history.
        2. Those who favor this view say it goes back to the apostles. {This is false!}
        3. The NT records many times uses the word “minister” or “ministry” to refer to what all Christians are & do.
        4. Sometimes clergy wants to dominate & other times the laity wants to sit back & let the pastor do it.
        5. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;”
      8. [2] A reaction to the 1st…a rejection of any leaders.
        1. I saw this take place in our valley back in 1990. A small group started a fellowship with the idea that no one in leadership was the way of “Acts”!
        2. But of course we see in many of Paul’s Epistles the biblical mandate, & a regular practice, of raising up leadership in the local church.
      9. [3] You have both groups, but they are so clearly outlined that ultimately they never work together.
        1. Thus there is no being part of “one” body. - Unity problems.
        2. Then, Rivalry enters in.
      10. The true pattern? – Eph.4:11-13
        1. There is supposed to be a proper relationship between the 2. And it is Service!
        2. The clergy equip(assist,train) the saints for the work of the ministry.
        3. Thus helping them with what they should be & what they should do(i.e. proclaim the gospel)
        4. The perfect model of course being Christ…who came to serve…!
  3. WRAP UP! (30-32)
    1. ​​​​​​​(30,31) These are seen in the wrap up of the Tribulation.
    2. (31b) Read Mt.24:29-31…it goes here!
    3. (32) So what happens between Pentecost & the Doom of the day of the Lord?...Salvation, that’s what happens!
      1. “Calls on” not w/a ceremonial or heartless repetition of phrases, but w/spiritual heartfelt worship.
      2. Q: How do you escape the wrath of God? (see 3:1,2)
        1. You escape it by becoming the true Israel. – Not Israel according to the flesh, but Israel according to the spirit!
    4. What a wonderful balance of the human & the heavenly: “whoever calls”; & “whom the Lord calls”.
    5. Deliverance – This will be the ultimate deliverance experience.
      1. Jesus is coming back! This time not to die, but to bring about His kingdom on earth, gather His people unto Himself, & destroy all His enemies.
    6. How can we sum up the Spirits work in our lives?
      1. The Spirit created us in his very image; then we chose to abandon that love relationship & went our own way.
      2. So, He gave us the revelation of truth(this exposed our true condition & God’s salvation…thus hope was born!).
      3. In responding to his truth w/repentance & faith we realize the H.S. regenerated us, forgave us, redeemed us, changing our very nature & came to live in us.
      4. He transforms us; He fills us; He makes us overcomers; He gifts us; He sends us; & He glorifies us.
      5. He Teaches us; Sanctifies us; Illuminates us; Baptizes us; & He brings us Comfort!
      6. Q: How much time do you give in thinking about the H.S.?
      7. Q: How about thanking Him for all He has done or is doing in your life?(I know not to pray to him per se)
    7. Read Rom.5:5 – Poured!
      1. The Holy Spirit didn’t use an “Eye Dropper”, He didn’t use “tweezers” to put agape love in our hearts, but some God sized Pouring device!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Joel 2". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.