The Book of Joel – November 2019
Yo! You there. Do you know that Yahweh is God? Do you really know that He is LORD of the nation regardless of the popular vote? Do you know that Nancy Pelosi, The Republican and Democrat party and Vladimir Putin are NOT? There is one God and He alone sits in judgement over the nations and over our hearts. Yo-el is the way to pronounce this prophet in the Old Testament who had much to say to his contemporaries and also to us today.
As I was studying Joel and praying about its message, I saw a random post on Facebook that came from a friend of a staff member in the White House. It was vague enough in print to miss but strong enough in the Spirit to “catch” the importance of the request. It states that in November there is
a CALL to fast and pray for the White House and our country.
Like Joel, we are not given names and specifics but the call to prayer is still important. The people’s response to repent and come to God caused God to have pity on them. Odd that the God who made the Universe could be moved by a prayer from any puny human but it’s true. Joel tells us that God is merciful, compassionate and slow to anger. We see God prove that in this book. That gives us courage to do likewise.
My husband Joe was teaching our boys about praying for the nation this morning on the way to church. They did not know what I was studying this past week. He quoted Benjamin Franklin when he said, “the Republic is yours, IF you can keep it.” The discussion that followed included thoughts of dedication and personal sacrifice. Quite by accident, we were telling our children and the next generation what we valued. It was chilling in light of this passage and the current call from those in authority to step up to pray. “But we are busy God”. Will one meal, one prayer, one cry of surrender be the thing that causes God’s heart to turn to America with pity?
Will that one prayer or cry be …. yours, mine?
Just one prayer that touches Gods heart, bends His ear?
The Day of the Lord, like the Day of rest is focused on Jesus. There are choices to be made and God’s heart is ALWAYS that He wants us to choose blessing. He is the mighty warrior that came to judge in the first half of this book and He is the judge that will be there to pour out blessings. He is also the warrior on that final day to judge the nations. He is the suffering One in between that was hung on a cross as the moon and sun went dark and the stars refused to shine. He pointed his disciples to wait until the wind of the Spirit was poured out. Pentecost was a promised prayer time that rocked the world then and continues to shake things up today. ALL were touched in that upper room. God was listening.
So, why does God judge and mete out punishments? According to Joel it is to further prosper and bless those who are willing. The sins in this book including sexual sins, drunkenness, addictions and having tepid hearts toward God. All serious grievances. It doesn’t matter to God one hoot if you have a different opinion or CNN told you these things were your “right” to do. God has opinions, laws and directives and when they affect a whole nation God will get our attention through natural disaster or heated politics, sometimes both. That’s not my thought, so don’t write me. Take it up with the Bible.
This summer, we took a trip through Nebraska and what we saw were fields completely covered in water. I remember the footage on the news of cows being swept away in the water. It will be years before crops can be planted there. I read of the Harvest not being able to be pulled in completely throughout the Dakotas because of an April blizzard that prevented sowing and late August rains that slowed down the Harvest. Stored grain from years past cannot be sold at market because the farmers can not drive through flooded fields to retrieve it. Times are tough for farmers. Although the news states there isn’t an olive shortage we do know that the crops were bad in Italy and Spain and they are two of the world’s largest producers of olives. Crops are still affected from drought and rain in 2018. When you look at these things all together there are similarities in the book of Joel.
When we watch the devastating fires in California, far away from the Midwest we feel sorrow for the homeowners; maybe even the movie stars, but there are also many acres of vineyards being destroyed. If you don’t drink wine that may not be startling but churches around the nations use grape juice for communion and that drives up the price. Overflowing wine was a sign of God’s blessing but Joel clearly states it is high time for the drunkards to wake up and take note that trouble is afloat. 1 Peter 5:8-9 reiterates the call to be sober (free from alcohol and drug influences with a mind alert to God’s voice). If that was important then– it is definitely important even more so now. Awake! More than farmers and vine dressers being severely depleted in their finances are worshippers and families that will be touched for quite a while. Grain, Wine and oil from Olives were also important in Joel’s day. The alarm has been sounded and if it is heeded, danger and invasion may possibly be averted. Death was imminent for those who refused.
The news makes everything sound so logical. Weather patterns, farming skills and time may equal success but the wise people in Joel’s day and the wise people in our day know that God is sovereign and arranges things based on His time table. When are these “disasters” a result of God’s judgement? When are they a result of our failures or sins? When are they just part of our daily rituals and plans in the grander scheme of things? To save yourself time in figuring that out, it all starts in one place – repent and get right with God. That way you are covered all around. God can sort out the rest.
Joel called the people to repentance. He goes on in this short, brief, concise, masterfully crafted small book to exhaust adjectives as he proclaims God is holy and those who serve Him must do so with fresh hearts. IF you take note of their sins, they absolutely deserve total annihilation and we are shown God is capable of that – regardless of who is in charge of the Government. In fact in this book the leaders are left out because the NAMES and PARTIES don’t matter. What matters is that the people REPENT. What matters is that they become aware that God alone sits in judgement and will judge His people and foreigners alike.
Repentance means we turn around and go a different direction.
Repentance means we acknowledge that God is right and we are wrong.
Repentance means we stop doing our agenda and start doing HIS.
Repentance means we posture our heart to love and serve God FIRST.
Joel also tells us about how God is going to make the world great again. He promises restoration, regeneration and really HUGE provisions for those who follow after Him with their whole heart. The whole point is not just to spell out judgement but to emphatically state there is the potential for blessing when people turn FROM their sin and TO God. It’s a promise. There is prophetic promises of wine, milk, water and fountains running, flowing and quenching the thirst of both the land and the people. Joel’s prophetic promises, like the swarm of locusts are complete in every stage. Locusts attack until absolutely nothing is left. When God’s spirit comes, it would absolutely obliterate the dry, parched places. It would overwhelmingly saturate all within reach. Joel uses language of abundance, fruitfulness and fertile fields. The difference, the choice is when the wind blows.
DO WE QUENCH OR LET THE WIND BLOW AND THE BLESSINGS FLOW?
I propose that this book is not about the Day of the Lord but the Wind of the Lord. (That is shocking but if commentators focused on the wind – minorities, women and old guys would be loosed and leaders responsible for that release. ) First the wind drove in the locusts, and then blew them out. Then the wind was prophesied to come in and change everything. There’s a new wind on the Horizon! We saw it fulfilled (as testified by Peter in Acts 2) on Pentecost. That wind after repentance determined if judgement would come or promises and prosperity. Young people, boys and girls and old people of all colors and socioeconomic categories would find their place in this new fresh breeze from the Lord. It would represent fresh hearts and the changes that God wanted to see. When repentance happens, God sends a new wind and it looks like ALL being able to call on the name of the Lord and to proclaim HIM.
How will we know what God is saying and doing in this hour if we are not listening to those the Spirit is touching? God is ALWAYS doing something but it may not be with the leader, the church sanctioned prophet, etc. It may be the Mexican Janitor or the Chinese accountant. God is pouring out His spirit in wave after wave on ALL His people.
As complete and total as the plagues were, God wanted to also completely, totally and abundantly bless those who followed after Him with passionate, fresh hearts. The blessing wasn’t just for obedience but a desire to please and serve God. Covenant was important then and it is important now. If God has given everyone a piece of the puzzle to accomplish this and we only let one person minister or a handful that all look alike how will we ever see a full picture of God or His character? It’s impossible! It is ironic that Pentecostal churches all over the nation claim the outpouring in Joel and in Acts 2 and then continue to do monologue ministry. The fullness of God is seen ONLY when His gifts are poured out and released in a multitude of channels. Praying in tongues is wonderful but the fulfillment from Joel was more about the Spirit being poured out in human vessels than just one gift. IF your church is all women leaders, let the men speak. If your church is all Korean, let the people from Denmark speak, etc. If your church is all contemporary Hillsong folks, find some senior citizen who loves Hymns and give him a microphone because God cares about those saints in the congregation seeing someone like them also. We need one another and we can NOT see or hear GOD unless we see Him in the whole, beloved, diverse context.
This may be unpopular but after reading Joel I want to press in for the fountain type blessings instead of getting munched on by locusts so here it goes…. Kanye West is very wealthy. He is a minority. God is choosing him in this hour to be a mouthpiece and in the last days God will save whoever calls on His name. It won’t be a vessel of honor here or there but like Daniel, boys are going to prophesy, old men will dream, young handmaidens will proclaim. DO NOT BENCH or MUZZLE those God is pouring His Spirit out on. Especially not if you love the Holy Spirit. In this last season it’s ALL HANDS ON DECK to bring in the Harvest. Anyone who loves God from a place of joy and surrender will be welcomed and accepted by Him. Being Pentecostal, at least Bible style is allowing the full body of Christ to operate – that will include once drunk folk, women, minorities, old guys past their prime and possibly even a redeemed president. It’s God who pours out the Spirit as He wishes. For those who do not repent for being lukewarm and religious… get some netting because the grasshoppers are coming for you.
Joel was sick of all the gatherings where people just came to puff themselves up or talk about the latest happenings. He asked them to gather to repent, gather to change, and gather to recognize how far they had fallen. Serious heart type stuff. Self-examination. Why? Because those things mattered and matter to GOD! Good content for ALL religious gatherings I would say. When repentance primes the pump for the anointing, why do we spend time doing everything but that? God alone is judge. Those who come to Him and focus on His opinion will receive fresh fire, power and experience the wind of change. Does the church need that in this hour? Our families? Our nation? Repentance unlocks those answers and that change as God once again pities His people. Lord, come with Your compassion we pray.
As I read this and prayed over this book some things stood out that I must share:
- REPENT … your sins will find you out and the wages of sin is death. God is judge and awaits your prayer and to open His hands in provision, forgiveness and joy.
- Breathe in…Let God’s wind of the Holy Spirit change you and bring about all that God has for you. That looks like blessing, fruitfulness and joy.
- Look up – your redemption draws nigh. The Day of the Lord is at hand and Heaven is real so keep encouraged.
- Collaborate – where is God speaking that you are blocking or resisting? Who are you judging or silencing that God wants to use in these days? Hindering God is serious stuff.
- Proclaim – Multitudes remain in the valley of decision. Share this message. Perhaps God will have pity on us and prevent the coming invasion.
God, you will hear my voice today. Please have pity on my heart, my family, my church, my nation and all others who cry out to you with fresh faith! He’s waiting for YOUR prayer for the USA. He’s listening for YOUR prayer for your family and church.
Blessings. Renae Roche2019