Prayer and Bible Study Wed. Jan 10 2018

Hymns: 495 Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah 489 Jesus, Lover of My Soul 

The Book of Joel 
Theme: - Judgment and Restoration. 
Who is Joel? = Jehovah is his God. Nothing known about this prophet. His father, Pethuel, was also unknown.
When did Joel live and prophesy? No date and no clues are given in this book about the time of writing. Amos quotes Joel. Check out Amos 1:2 and Joel 3:16 to learn that Amos quoted Joel. See Amos 1:1 for a very specific date in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash - about 830 BC. So, Joel was one of the very first writing prophets along with Obadiah. 
What is the theme of His book? - Judgement and Restoration. Therefore, it is a book of hope to those overwhelmed with national and church sins. HOPE THROUGH THOROUGH REPENTANCE.

The agents of God's judgments were locusts: Ch 1:4. Verse 6 gives their description. Different stages of locusts, but all voracious.

They were strong and without number ch1:6 - The locusts numbers are wholly countless by man. Travelers sometimes use likenesses to express their number, as clouds darkening the sun (see the note at Joel_2:10) or discharging flakes of snow ; some grave writers give it up, as hopeless.

“Their multitude is incredible, whereby they cover the earth and fill the air; they take away the brightness of the sun. I say again, the thing is incredible to one who has not seen them.” “It would not be a thing to be believed, if one had not seen it.” “On another day, it was beyond belief: they occupied a space of eight leagues (about 24 English miles). I do not mention the multitude of those without wings, because it is incredible.” : “When we were in the Seignory of Abrigima, in a place called Aquate, there came such a multitude of locusts, as cannot be said. They began to arrive one day about terce (nine) and until night they cease not to arrive; and when they arrived, they bestowed themselves. On the next day at the hour of prime they began to depart, and at mid-day there was not one, and there remained not a leaf on the trees. At this instant others began to come, and staved like the others to the next day at the same hour; and these left not a stick with its bark, nor a green herb, and thus did they five days one after another; and the people said that they were the sons, who went to seek their fathers, and they took the road toward the others which had no wings. After they were gone, we knew the breadth which they had occupied, and saw the destruction which they had made, it exceeded three leagues (nine miles) wherein there remained no bark on the trees.”

The problem of barrenness is to be lamented: Ch 1 v 9, 13 & 16 - the house of God is barren and unprovided for.

The prophecy of Joel shows us that God always has a word for His people in days of looming trouble. He sends his word before the judgment.

The message informs us on what to do in lean times when the house of God is neglected and the blessing of God is removed - indeed when judgment threatens:

1. Lament. v8 The sorrow of the girl who is bethrothed to be married but the death of the husband before marriage is very bitter.
2. Be ashamed. v11 "ashamed" = to fell the bitter disappointment - be pale - be sick about the matter. This is God's answer to apathy. We really care when we show shame
3. Show sorrow and mourning. v 13
4. Sanctify a fast. ch. 1:14 and 2:16 - call the leaders and the people to a solemn assembly. Don't ignore it. 
To acknowledge God's displeasure - his wrath upon the land, or the church. See v 15 "The Day of the Lord is at hand."
"The day of the LORD is any day He avengeth sin." Albert Barnes
according to Deu_28:38, & 1Ki_8:37; the locust was God's judgment and to be acknowledged as due to sin to be repented of and God's mercy is to be sought.

5. Sound the alarm. "Blow ye the trumpet." ch 2:1
6. Turn again to the Lord in repentance. Ch. 2:12
7. Trust in God's unchanging grace v13.
8. Pray according to God's direction. v17  God gave the very words to pray back to Him.

"Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"

Outline of this prayer:
*Spare - do not cut them off
*Stay - do not hand over
*Shepherd - do not have heathen to rule over 
*Shew your faithfulness - Do not have the heathen to blaspheme the name of God.

9. Expect the Lord to bless v18 - 27
10. Expect the Lord to give the Holy Spirit v 28-32

What barrenness do we lament over in our time?

* Lack of fruit. Locusts eat all. 
* Lack of conversions
* Lack of restoration of backsliders
* Lack of power and conviction in the preaching of the word. Where is the brokenness of heart? The sowing of the gospel seed sometimes comes to nothing.
* The sins of the nation in Canada are affecting the church.
* Carelessness of God's people, as seen in their prayerlessness.

Take these things to the Lord in prayer. 


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