Joel is known as the Prophet of Revival. The title of this book is the name of its writer, as is probably true of all the prophetical books of the Old Testament. The name Joel means “Yahweh is God.” He was the son of Pethuel (“Persuaded of God”), who does not appear to have been an especially famous person. The Old Testament includes 11 other people named Joel. God selected Joel to warn his audience about a coming day in which God would judge His people. He compared this devastating judgment to a terrible locust invasion that had fairly recently swept through the land.
Does your heart long to be revived, renewed, restored and filled with a Hope that lasts? Joel is one of the Minor Prophets that God used to wake up a population of preoccupied citizens who were tightly bound up in their traditions, routines and ambitions. INSIGHT: It is easy to agree that the current generation is also preoccupied with personal goals, cell phones and thrill seeking.
The message of Joel could have filled the emptiness of soul in his day, but his selfish generation was too busy pursuing more important matters. May this generation have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying throughout the Word of God. Pray “Holy Spirit open my heart and mind to what matters to God.” As we choose to draw near to God, He runs to satisfy all our needs! Allow His Spirit to change your focus.
Joel spoke to the people of Judah while Hosea ministered to the people of Israel. When Israel’s crops were devoured by locusts, Joel believed that this had been the righteous judgment of our holy God. “The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails.” (Joel 1:10) An army of locusts darkened the sky as they ate the vines and the wine lovers suffered. The cattle and sheep cried in the field and the priests had no meat, or wine to offer at the temple. In the people’s desperation their ears were opened to hear Joel’s words.
The old and young attended a town meeting along with the priests to hear what the Lord told Joel. “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate.” (Joel 2:13) Joel assured the people that God will show His great mercies and renew them with spiritual blessings for their obedience to the God of Israel.
Some scholars today believe that in Joel’s youth, he had listened to both Elijah and Elisha, or at least he had heard of these holy men. Joel was the first to speak of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which was to come. “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” (Joel 2:28) This was the prophecy that was fulfilled at Pentecost. (Acts 2:16)
The book of Joel enunciates that spiritual deliverance will flow forth from Jerusalem. (Joel 3:18) Only God could have told Joel about the return of the Jews, and he personally witnessed their return from Babylon.
In chapter 3 this prophet gives renewed hope in the Lord. He declares that the land of Israel will once again be fruitful. Today we can testify that the once barren rocky land of Israel flourishes with a variety of new crops. (Joel 3:18) All Prophets of God are raised up to stand in the midst of national catastrophes and clarify God’s purpose.
These timely warnings are brought to us out of God’s love. The suffering that happened then and what suffering we now witness is a direct result of our propensity to sin. The miracle rests in our admission of sin, and in our turning back towards the God of restoration through His Son Jesus Christ.
There have been many false prophets, but a prophet who pronounces what God whispers is found to be accurate as they predict the destruction that looms by fires, floods, pestilence, and droughts with a voice that should cause people in this generation to turn back to God of their ancestors.
The body of Christ, the church today is in a similar state of devastation. There is a famine in the land, a hunger for the Truth, the Good News. Instead we are bombarded with watered down fake news. Our spiritual foes are described in Joel 1:6 “A nation has invaded my land, powerful and without number; it has the teeth of a lion, the fangs of a lioness.”
The church would be wise to mourn now so that they can rejoice later. It is time to fast and to spend a night in repentance. Cry out to the Lord, He is listening.
Summary of the book of Joel as researched by Barbara Alley Hoyle for her published book. “Behind the Curtain”
“Updated” March 5, 2023