Joel 2

Vs. 1, “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.  Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand.”  The significance of the trumpet gives the audience of that time the very important message that something even bigger was about to happen!  And here they though the Locust invasion was devastating!  We see again the topic of the Day of the Lord.  Joel expounds on what this day will look like (vs. 2-11).  Joel gives us the recent image of the Locust to further expound using metaphors to describe to us this army.  To their surprise, the identity of this army is none other than God’s army (vs. 11).  Question: If this is God’s army, who then can be saved?  The answer lies in the amazing grace of God (vs. 12-17).  Through the prophet Joel, Yahweh is calling his people to turn and repent (vs. 12-13).  And lastly, we see God’s response to His people when they have finally repented (vs. 18-32).  Not only does God forgive them…He restores them and heals their land.  And in our last section of Joel (vs. 28-32), the Apostle Peter actually quotes from this passage in Acts 2 when he addresses the Jews at Pentecost.  Many scholars also believe that this prophecy began at Pentecost, but won’t be fulfilled until the time Tribulation.

Regarding application…Return to the Lord.  Vs. 13, “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”  Question: Where are you at on your journey with the Lord?  For God’s people in the time of the prophet Joel, they were straying from the Lord.  As Christians, while we have the assurance of salvation (Romans 8), there are times that we are going to fall short.  We are a new creation, but sometimes we revert to our old habits of sinning.  Yet, God in His grace and compassion is slow to get angry and his love in abundant (vs. 13).  As Easter is just two weeks away, there is a wonderful time to begin to turn our hearts back to the Lord if we have strayed.  He loves you so very much!  The bridge of the song “Here I am to Worship” is directly quoted from this passage (vs. 32), “Call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.”  Question: Isn’t that amazing!  Just like yesterday’s admonishment, call upon the Lord and return to Him!

Hosea 12

Vs. 3, “In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel; as a man he struggled with God.”  Hosea draws on the life of Jacob as he reflects on some of Jacob’s mistakes (vs. 2-6).  Looking back on Jacob’s life, he deceived Esau (Gen 27:35-36), and Israel was now living a lie and cheating others (vs. 7).  The areas of Gilead and Gilgal (vs. 11), were examples of the people turning away from God.  We also are reminded of Jacob’s wresting incident with God and lastly Jacob’s encounter with God at Bethel, remember the stairway to heaven? (Genesis 28 & 35).   And lastly, Hosea reminds us of Moses who was appointed to be the deliverer for God’s people out of Egypt (vs. 13-14)

Regarding application…Waiting on God.  Vs. 6, “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.”  Sometimes we get impatient and just want to see change right away.  I like how the NLT translation states at the end of vs. 6, “always depend on him.”  When Jacob wrestled with God on the Jabbock river (Gen 32), God would change Jacob’s name to Israel.  There are times when we have to wrestle with who we are and wait patiently on God changing us from the inside out.  Just as we know nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8), we must also be persistent and wait/depend on Him in all circumstances.