Call for Repentance

Key Verse: “‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
—Joel 2:12,13, New International Version

Lesson Scripture:
Joel 1,2

JOEL WAS THE SON OF Pethuel (Joel 1:1) and nothing is known of his descent, or of his family. What is important is his message. Joel prophesied in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, around 800-750 B.C. He was among a long list of prophets who saw in vision the judgments to come from God and the deliverance of Israel. Joel begins his prophecy by telling of a great famine caused by swarms of locusts. These locusts were familiar to the Holy Land, as well as in other parts of the world. The plague of locusts was seen as God’s judgment of Judah and his punishment for their sins. This story would be told to the children of Israel and to their children in coming generations.—ch. 1:1-4

The Lord describes the punishment, saying their food would be destroyed, even the meat and drink offerings would be denied. The beasts of the field would suffer because there would be no water. The remedy was to “Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, … into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord.” This great time of trouble was called, “The day of the Lord,” in which destruction from the Almighty would come.—vss. 10-20

This prophecy has far-reaching implications, not only in the days of Joel, but in the future. The locusts picture a great army that is to come against the nation of Israel, an army that sweeps away everything in its path. However, God intervenes and stops the trouble before Israel is totally destroyed, and peace comes.—Ezek. 38,39

Joel goes on in chapter two to call this time, “The day of the Lord.” It is described as “A day of darkness, … thick darkness.” (vs. 2) There never is to be another time like this. Just like the locusts, these are devouring forces. All the symbols forecast extreme trouble in the earth.—ch. 2:1-11

The call goes out for Israel to repent from their sins and turn to the Lord with all their hearts, because “the Lord your God: … is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness,” and perhaps he will take away the evil.—vss. 12,13

At the time of this great tragedy, a call goes forth to blow a trumpet in Zion (Israel), a call for national prayer to the Lord to intervene. (vs. 15) This prayer is to be given, asking God not to forsake his heritage, but to take away the reproach of the heathen that rule over them.—vs. 17

God answers this prayer by telling them he pities his people and will restore to them their former condition of national prominence. He will “No more make you a reproach among the heathen.” (vs. 19) In verse twenty, God describes a picture of a northern army coming against Israel and being defeated. A total reformation of the nation of Israel will be made at that time when God intervenes.

In verses twenty-eight through thirty-two God’s future kingdom is pictured. The Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh, and all who call upon the Lord will be saved.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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