A HOLY AND JUST GOD (JOEL) Lesson 3 for April 20, 2013
The book of Joel introduces a series of spiritual consequences that stem from a grave national disaster. Those consequences are related to the end time in the history of our world when every person will be in the “Valley of Decision”.
X • NATIONAL DISASTER That led to lack of basic food (Joel 1:10-12): The divine service was affected by the lack of wheat, barley, wine and oil which were used in the offerings and libations in the Temple (Joel 1:13)
CALL TO REPENTANCE ““Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him—a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’””(Joel 2:12-17)
CALL TO REPENTANCE “Our heavenly Father does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. He has His purpose in the whirlwind and in the storm, in the fire and in the flood. The Lord permits calamities to come to His people to save them from greater dangers. He desires everyone to examine his own heart closely and carefully, and then draw near to God, that God may draw near to him” E.G.W. (In Heavenly Places, September 15)
RAIN OF THE HOLY SPIRIT “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28) As a result of fast and prayer with repentance and a sincere seek for the divine will, God will pour His Spirit down on His children. That happened in Pentecost (the Early Rain) and will happen again in our time (the Latter Rain) as it was prophesied in Joel 2:23. The difference between both Rains is that the Latter Rain will come with more wonders on Earth and in Heaven because of the proximity of the Second Coming. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord”(Joel 2:30-31)
PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:32) What does “call on the name of the Lord” mean? • Proclaiming that you are a follower of the Lord. • Holding on to God’s promises. • Proclaiming the truths of the Gospel. Thus, to proclaim the Lord’s name means both to be messengers of the glad tidings that God still rules the world and also to call on the people of the world to view everything in the context of God’s deeds and character. It also means to tell everyone about God’s generous gift of salvation that is offered to every human being.
THE VALLEY OF DECISION “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14) When the children of God seek Him with a humble heart, hold on to His promises and proclaim the truth of the Gospel to the world, the heart of the wicked are touched by the Holy Spirit. We are called to make a decision: Accepting or rejecting the salvation Jesus offers. “The Lord has a special work to do for us individually. As we see the wickedness of the world brought to light in the courts of justice and published in the daily papers, let us draw near to God, and by living faith lay hold of his promises, that the grace of Christ may be manifest in us. We may have an influence, a powerful influence, in the world. If the convicting power of God is with us, we shall be enabled to lead souls that are in sin to conversion” E.G.W. (The Review and Herald, April 1 1909)
THE VALLEY OF DECISION Once the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit is poured down on the people of God, the Gospel will be proclaimed like a “great proclamation” and the world will definitely be divided in two groups of people. Those who reject salvation will suffer the consequences of their decision when God will sit down to judge the world in the “Valley of Decision” (Revelation 20:11-15) Nevertheless, the people of God must not fear His act of judgment because He has promised to protect them (Joel 3:16). His supreme and graceful acts show that He is a God Who is faithful to His pact so He will never allow the just to be ashamed (Joel 2:27) “Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame” (Joel 2:27)
The book of Joel ends with a vision of a transformed world where a river flows at the middle of the New Jerusalem and the presence of the eternal God is within His forgiven people (Joel 3:18-21) “And it will come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drip with new wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; a fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Acacias” (Joel 3:18)