Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 10 was Joel Day!

Yesterday was a rough day. I didn't feel very well, so I slept the day away. Plus Joel was a hard book for me and I definitely used e-Sword and Kyle's study Bible to help me understand who wrote it and who the locusts represented (I should know my history better...). The other thing that helped is reading the history of the rise and fall of Israel. 1st and 2nd Kings are historical books outlining which kings served God and which did not. Hosea, which I'm studying with Deb, also portrays the rollercoaster ride of God's chosen people. How they turn away, God calls them back, they turn away, they repent, etc. etc. Joel tied right into this study. I know there's WAY more to Joel than what I observed yesterday and today, but in the mean time, I can cross it off my list! If you want to know more about my New Years Resolution and why I'm doing this check out my first two postings:
Old Testament Daily Readings
Ruth Day

My notes on Joel:
Author/Audience: This isn't a letter, it's a call to repent by Joel, the son of Pethuel (who I know nothing about). I'm going to assume he is a prophet. He is calling God's chosen people - the Jews - to repent.

Notes/Observations:
  • Both sources agreed that the 4 locusts described are the world powers during this time: Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome. All of whom have either destroyed the land or enslaved Jews at one point or time in history.
  • Joel is telling them to wake up, wail, lament, mourn, be ashamed, put on sackcloth (which is a sign of mourning), and to "Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all teh inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord." (1:14)
    • Fasting is a call to prayer. Instead of focusing on your hunger pains, the hunger pains are a reminder to pray.
    • Basically Joel is telling them to repent, ask for forgiveness and turn back to God.
  • Over and over again in 1st & 2nd Kings, as well as in Hosea, God tells His people to repent, to turn back to Him, or deal with the consequences. And then God shows His faithful mercy and grace. Here's how I summed up the breaks...
    • Chapter 2:1-11 = Consequences
      • The Lord sent this army to destroy and lay waste to these people because they refuse to follow Him, verse 11, "The Lord utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of teh Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it?"
    • 2:12-17 = Repent!
      • Verse 13 is an incredible picture of God, "Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster." We do not deserve him for we are constantly turning away from him, this has been proven throughout history! But thankfully we have a gracious and merciful God, who is thankfully slow to anger. The depth of his love we do not understand. He gives disaster and he takes it away - God is sovereign!
    • 2:18-30 = Grace and Mercy
      • If you still do not believe that God is in control there is absolutely no denying it in these verses:
        • verse 19 "I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reporach among the nations."
        • verse 20 "I will remove the northerner far from you..."
        • verse 21 "... for the Lord has done great things..."
        • verse 23 "...he has given the early rain..." "... he has poured down for you abundant rain..."
        • verse 25 "I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and teh cutter, my great army, WHICH I SENT AMONG YOU."
      • In the midst of everything He does for them He wants them to praise Him and only Him for He is a jealous God:
        • verse 18 "Then the Lord became jealous for his land..."
        • verse 21 "Fear not, O Land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things!"
        • verse 23 "... rejoice in the Lord your God..."
        • verse 26 "... praise the name of the Lord your God..."
        • verse 27 "... I am the Lord your God and there is none else."
    • 3:1-16 = God's Revenge
      • It's pretty obvious that God is in control in this section. I highlighted every time God says I will do something... and it was 7 times: I will enter into judgement..., I restore the fortunes of Judah, I will stir them up..., I will return your payment..., I will sell..., I will sit to judge..., I will avenge their blood....
      • I love 3:16, "The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel." It shows his might (the Lord roars, the heavens and the earth quake) but it also shows His enduring faithfulness to His people (He is a refuge, a stronghold). That is a great picture of our God, whom we should fear, trust in fully, and know He will do as He promised.
    • 3:17-21 = Restoring His Chosen Land
      • 3:17 totally reminds me of when I read in Exodus God bringing His people out of Egypt! He told Moses the reason for the plagues was so that His people and the Egyptians know that "I am the Lord..." I highlighted that over and over and over again throughout Exodus. And now in verse 17 God wants His people to know, because we tend to forget - often, that He is God, "So you shall know that I am the Lord your God..."

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