JOEL 2:18


The Bible says in Joel 2:18-19, “Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.[19] Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:” Because of the sins of the people of Israel, and because they would not turn back to the Lord for forgiveness, eventually the holiness and judgment of God brought chastisement and punishment to them and to their land. That circumstance proved that there is a limit to God’s patience. Of course, God’s patience is much greater than man’s. We have seen in the Bible that God will wait hundreds of years sometimes before He brings judgment upon a nation. But the point is that if people do not repent of their sins, the judgment will eventually come. There is a line that a person can go across spiritually speaking that will cause their life to be much worse, and the reason is because God does exist and He watches over everyone.  But once again we are shown in Joel 2:18-19 that there may be a limit to God’s patience, but there is no limit to God’s mercy.


Once a person has entered into a relationship with Christ whereby that person is now a child of God, then that person occupies a position and standing with God that will never go away. That person receives benefits from God that will always be there. This is true even when the person fails. Our salvation is based upon the grace of God freely given through Jesus, and is not based upon our works. Our salvation is based upon a promise that God makes to us, a promise of eternal life, and God always keeps His promises. That is what this situation with Israel symbolizes. God promised to Abraham back in Genesis 12:1-3, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:[2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:[3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” God made a promise to Abraham, and as the centuries roll by, God is going to keep that promise. No failure of the Israelites or of anyone else is going to prevent God from keeping His promise to Abraham. Jesus has also made promises to His believers. Jesus promised in John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” The New Testament is full of such promises such as John 3:15, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” No wonder Paul wrote in Romans 8:33-39, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.[34] Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.[35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?[36] As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.[37] Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.[38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,[39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Joel 2:18-19 is a statement of how much God loves His people and how much He is going to bless them and take care of them. God continues with this theme in the following verses. It says in Joel 2:20-25, “But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.[21] Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.[22] Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.[23] Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.[24] And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.[25] And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.


God is good. He loves His children. Jesus is a wonderful Savior. These truths remain even when the believers fail. Of course, the whole passage is telling the Israelites all of the good things that God is going to do for them because He wants to. But the last verse, Joel 2:25, is a tremendous statement of the power of forgiveness. The forgiveness of sins is a game-changer. It changes everything. One of the things that changes to the benefit of believers has to do with the consequences of sin. The writings of Joel as well as other prophets go into great detail about the consequences of sin. The consequences of sin is why the Israelites were run over by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Even the New Testament warns Christians in Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” One of the memorable verses in the Old Testament about reaping what one sows is found in Hosea 8:7 that says, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Another verse is found right here in Joel and in some ways is the theme for the book of Joel. It says in Joel 1:4, “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.” I hope you noticed the difference and why the difference happened in what the Lord said. First God tells the bad consequences that will happen with very vivid language of the “caterpillars,” and the “palmerworms,” and the “locusts.” But then once God talks about forgiveness, He says these very things will not happen. That is how great salvation through Christ really is. I know that I do not reap what I sow, not entirely because if I did, then I would be in hell right now. I have already done enough to earn hell, but I am not in hell; and I am on my way to heaven, and I do not deserve that either. So with salvation through faith in Christ, I will not get the bad things that I do deserve, and I will get the good things that I do not deserve.


The Bible says in Joel 2:26-29, “And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.[27] And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.[28] And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:[29] And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” This is a great passage about what good things God is going to do in the future. It is interesting to point out that the Lord is talking about the last days, and some of these promises are being fulfilled right now, and as a matter of fact, they started being fulfilled in the first century. Joel 2:26 tells us why these good things will happen. God says, “I am the Lord your God,” and He speaks of “my people.” For the believers in Jesus, God is our God, and we are His people. He is not going to forsake His people. That is a given. In this great plan that God has for His people what will He do? We are told very clearly in Joel 2:28-29, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:[29] And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” This is what will happen in the last days. Keep in mind that this had its fulfillment starting in the first century. Luke quoted from Joel in Acts 2:17-18, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:[18] And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:


The word that is translated from the Hebrew “afterward” in Joel 2:28 is translated from the Greek as “in the last days” in Acts 2:17. Acts chapter two is telling us that this prophecy from Joel chapter two was being fulfilled in the first century. This confirms what we already know: the last days started in the first century. Just as it says in Hebrews 1:2, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” And it says in First John 2:18, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” Many times in the Bible references to “the last days” are speaking of the last 7 years of the current age in which we live. The last 7 years Jesus described as “great tribulation” in Matthew chapter 24. But the last days actually started with the advent of Christ. The last days are actually the entire time period from the first coming of Christ to His Second Coming.


Another important truth to notice from Joel chapter 2 and Acts chapter to has to do with the promise “sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” The basic meaning of the word “prophesy” is to speak for the Word of God, in other words “to preach.” There are three words that refer to preaching. This word “prophesy” is one of them. The other two words mean “to publicly proclaim” and “to preach the gospel.” The former is an emphasis on who hears the preaching, and the latter is an emphasis on what the content of the preaching will be: the gospel of Christ. Think about Joel 2:28. Both men and women will speak forth the Word of God. To me that settles the question as to women being allowed to be preachers. Does God enable both men and women to speak forth the Word of God? Yes. Can both men and women do this in the public arena? Yes. Can women evangelize, can they “preach the gospel?” Yes. The word “evangelize” comes from the Greek word that means literally “to preach the gospel.” There is the story of a young woman who went to China many years ago as a missionary. Part of her work in China was to spend time on street corners speaking the gospel to passers-by. Over the years she became much acclaimed for her sacrifices and work as a missionary in China. Eventually, she returned to America. But in America some churches would not allow her to speak in their churches because they had restrictions against women preachers. They based their restrictions on First Timothy 3:1-2 that says, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” These verses speak of “a man,” and being “the husband of one wife.” Therefore, they conclude that this excludes women. I think the have made the wrong conclusion. These verses are positive statements to men, but the verses themselves do not exclude women. The verses address men, but you could turn around and substitute “women” where it says “men.” Let me give a good Biblical example of this. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it.” This verse is addressing, just as First Timothy 3:1-2 is addressing men. But Ephesians 4:25 does not mean that women should not love their husbands: Of course not. No one would say that. The same view of First Timothy 3:1-2 should be taken especially in light of what Joel 2:28 says. First Timothy 3:1-2 is saying what men should do. It is not saying what women should not do.


It is wonderful how God has equipped us for serving Him and preaching His Word. He has given His Spirit to those who believe in Jesus. If you preach the Word of God by the Spirit of God, you will be doing the work of God that needs to be done. That is, the Spirit of God will be doing the work that He wants to be done. It is wonderful that we live in the time when Joel 2:28 is being fulfilled. 


Copyright; 2014 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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