Theological Themes in Joel
Call to lament and Repentance is a central biblical teaching. All people are sinful and God desires that all people repent of their sins. The Hebrew word for repent means to “turn away” from sin. The Greek word for repentance means to “change on’e mind,” more specifically, it means… More
When great tragedy occurs, a natural impulse is to lament, to cry to God for help, and to complain about one’s circumstances. Yet, in our day, persons of faith are often discouraged, directly or more subtly, from a vigorous, accusing lament. Sometimes, it is appropriate to repent if persons have brought their trouble on themselves by their own behavior.
Connection with the Pentecost was originally a Jewish harvest or pilgrimage festival that fell on the fiftieth day after Passover. It was during this festival that the Holy Spirit visited Jesus’ followers in tongues of fire and caused them to speak in many languages, as reported in Acts… More experience
Probably the best known passage from Joel is 2:28-29 where, it is said, all people will be able to prophesy. The writer of Acts uses this passage to interpret the experience of people speaking and understanding many different languages. It links the Hebrew Bible with the experience of those first Christians.
The The Day of the Lord, in prophetic writing, is the day of judgment when God will intervene directly in world affairs. As described in Zephaniah, for instance, God will sweep everything away. In Matthew’s gospel God is described as gathering the elect on the day… More
The world has many flaws, the wicked prosper while the innocent suffer, the bad guys often win the wars, and death hangs over the head of everyone. And so, people of faith long for a time when God will come to fix everything once and for all. When that day, the Day of the Lord, comes, will it be a good time or a bad time? Joel sees the Day both as a time of judgment and as a promise of hope.
Hope has the last word
Prophetic books often contain words of dire warning if people do not live in obedience to God. Or, as in the case of Joel, terrible things have already happened, probably as the result of human sin. The prophetic books, however, almost never leave the people without hope. Joel, like other prophets, ends with hope, both in 2:18-27 (regarding the Locusts are a type of grasshopper (which, along with wild honey, comprised John the Baptist’s diet). A swarm of locusts is the eighth plague before the Jews left Egypt in Exodus. The book of Joel takes place in the aftermath of a plague of locusts,… More) and 3:18, 20-21 (regarding the final vindication of Israel).
Natural disasters as messages from God
Natural disasters are a common occurrence in every age–floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, or the scourge of crop-eating insects. Did God have a part in sending the disaster? How do we know that? And what is the message that is being sent? Joel, as people do in our day, sees the locusts as a punishment from God, though he never states clearly what sin might have caused it.