Some events have generational memories and impact
– Pearl Harbor attack (Dec 7, 1941) “a day which lives in infamy,” which resulted in US entry into WW2
– JFK assassination (Nov 22, 1963)
– MLK assassination (April 4, 1968)
– Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin landing on moon (July 20, 1969)
– Elvis death (August 16, 1977)
– 9/11/2001 watching planes fly into world trade towers & pentagon to attack our nation
– Hurricane Katrina (Aug 29, 2005) striking New Orleans
– Hurricane Sandy (Oct 29, 2012) striking NJ
– Hurricane Harvey (Aug 25, 2017) striking TX
Today we examine the Bible book of Joel for events leading to generational impact. We also seek to understand ways God seeks to work toward growing godly generations.
EXAMINE Joel 2:28-32 Sons & Daughters
– Joel is a Minor Prophet… called minor not because book is insignificant but because it is succinct and straightforward. As mentioned last message (Sons & Daughters: Malachi), the Prophets are like the CliffsNotes of the OT; read one and they summarize God’s work across the OT generations. Uniquely, the Minor Prophets don’t speak around the topic at hand, but confront and challenge you to the face.
o I like these types of people better. You never have to wonder or guess what they think.
o Less is often more… and sometimes even for sermons (maybe today… maybe not).
– Joel name means: “Yahweh is God.”
– Joel written to Israel before the Babylonian exile, therefore rebuking Israel and calling the nation to remembrance of God. The book could be categorized into two parts: 1) A prophetic call to repent, and 2) A prophetic promise of redemption.
o #1 Prophetic call to repent and awaken to the Lord (Joel 1:1 – 2:17)
- Joel 1:2-3 “Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.” [That’s 5 generations!]
- Here, Joel is referencing plagues of judgment that are to be repeated to future generations as a warning to not turn away from God.
o Locusts that swarm the land destroying farms, food, and even disrupt faith in God (Joel 1:4-12).
- Joel 1:5 “Awake… and wail”
- Joel 1:8 “Lament…”
- Joel 1:11 “Be ashamed…”
- Joel 1:13-14 “Put on sackcloth and lament… consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God and cry out to the Lord.”
- Joel 2:1 “Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain!”
- Joel 2:12-13 “The Lord declares, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning, and rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”
- Joel 2:15-16 “Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants…”
è Are you experiencing consequences of sin? If so, is it causing you to run toward or away from God?
è Are you experiencing locusts hovering and overwhelming any desired good in life?
o Finances can’t get ahead and keep being spent on things needing fixed, renewed, etc.
o Family relationships can’t heal and continue conflict from old wounds resurfacing or new issues.
o Fulfillment seems elusive professionally and personally.
o Faith can’t grow and find yourself the same place spiritually as years before.
- Paranoia of people around you that causes you to isolate rather than intimate community.
- Pleasuring sin hinders you from loving God, treasuring His word, and walking in joyous contentment.
è God’s warnings through the Prophets are His love.
o Like a dashboard light on your vehicle communicating something needs fixed.
o Like a doctor advising physical changes and/or follow certain medical instructions.
o Like an employer annual evaluation seeking to improve communication and competency in org.
o Life a friend caring enough to critique with feedback about life lessons.
o Like a parent rebuking a child for discipline to form better behavior for a better future in personhood and life path.
o Life a spouse weeping with a warning and final ultimatum of departure
è God’s warnings through His judgments are His love. Locusts are meant to lead you to return to God. When the locusts of life come, we are called to return/repent to the Lord.
o If there is spiritual drift, then we return. Often we know what to do but the solution seems too simple so we avoid it.
- Church – um, too bothersome of my time.
- Bible Reading – eh, too bookish.
- Prayer – too boring.
- Our excuses will not lead us to escape spiritual drift. Until we believe that God has a locust behind our every excuse we will continue in discontentment.
o If there is sin and disobedience, then we repent; and repentance is greater than regret/remorse, requiring a change of action.
o #2 Prophetic promise of redemption (Joel 2:18 – 3:21).
- Joel written with prophecies concerning the “Day of the Lord,” end times. For those who failed to repent this Day would be despair, destruction, and death. For Joel the day of the Lord was not exclusively judgment or salvation; it was simply the coming of God to deal with people. For some this means life; for others it means death (2 Cor 2:16)
- Joel 1:15 “For the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.”
- Joel 2:1b “for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near”
- Joel 2:11 “For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it?”
- Joel 3:14 “Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”
- Joel’s promises from the Lord about redemption. God’s redemption is abundant.
1) Restoring life. When locusts destroyed a crop they wiped out the seed saved from the previous year, the harvest of the current year, and the seed that would be used the next year. Locust devastation of vines, food, and trees would take years to redevelop.
Joel 1:12 “The vine dries up; the fig tree languishes. Pomegranate, palm, and apple, and all the trees of the field are dried up, and gladness dries up from the children of man.”
Locust years are lost years. Loss of property, possessions, and productivity; having nothing to show for all the years is time that seems wasted and filled with regret and pain. We all know that time cannot be reversed. Property, possessions, and finances can be replaced, but time cannot be returned to us. Yet, God promises to do the impossible to restore the years. How?
First, God promises a physical restoration with ample food supply and satisfaction (Joel 2:25-26). God will provide the early and latter rains to multiply the fields with an overflowing harvest (Joel 2:23-24).
- Joel 2:25-26 “I will restore to you the years…You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God”
And second, God promises deeper spiritual communion with the Lord (Joel 2:26-27). God will deal wondrously with His people, and He will be in the midst of them. Having the ability to see God in the midst of our greatest losses and hurts is reassuring there is a purpose for everything. In our trials and tears we can know God’s comforting presence and grow to know Him deeper than we wouldn’t have if we had not experienced suffering.
Charles Spurgeon said, “they who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”
◊ O Lord, restore to us years that have been wasted on our selfishness and sin. Grant our sorrows be transformed into greater joy, seeing that whatever we have lost fails to compare to that which is gained in Christ and Your future kingdom. Restore us lost years with healing relationships and a harvest of eternally abiding fruit to overcome time spent apart from serving You.
2) Generational Revival. The text of Joel 2:28-32 stands apart as distinct emphasis upon God’s main restorative work as spiritual revival. First, God’s Spirit, His own life presence and power being shared with humanity. God’s Spirit is poured/spilled/gushed generously upon all – all who call upon the Lord to be saved (cf. Ez 39:29; Zech 12:10; Acts 2:17-21; Rom 10:13). No exclusion will be made upon race (all flesh), age (young & old), gender (sons & daughters), social status (even servants) (Gal 3:28).
Joel 2:28-29, 32 “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit…. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Second, in result to the Spirit-filling are 4 reactions:
2.1 Sons & Daughters prophesy. Previously, God’s Spirit did not rest on all believers. In fact, Moses longed for a time when all God’s people would be filled with the Spirit to prophesy to one another (Numbers 11:24-30). So, Joel’s prophetic reference looked forward to the same experience of sons and daughters of God having ability to prophesy. Prophesying is being able to speak God’s message with the right motive in the right manner; speaking truth in love (1Cor 13:2; 14:1-3, 24-25). While every believer may have a level of this ability, some have a greater measure of grace in this area (Rom 12:6; 1Cor 12:10, 28-30; Eph 4:11-16; 1Pet 4:10-11; 1Thess 5:19-21). Believers can pray for greater measures of this gift for the building up of Christ’s body. Imagine a church where brothers and sisters in Christ eagerly gathered for the sake of giving and receiving words from the Lord through our conversations and study of Scripture. The sense of anticipation and passion for God and His church would increase exponentially.
2.2 Old men dream dreams. The American church is filled with older saints who have a retirement mindset despite the fact there is much harvest work to be accomplished. The church today is established with its organization and outreach based on the church of the previous generation. Older saints labored and led with the dreams God put in their heart. But somewhere, older saints have stopped dreaming. We need the older generation to dream and deploy themselves into God’s mission again.
2.3. Young men see visions. While the younger generation is passionate, they are not always passionate about the right priorities. Their vision for life has been overshadowed by the hype of earthly interests and influences. The young are living without a great and glorious vision, all the while hoping to make a lasting difference. Youthfulness can be wasted on the young, because those older understand the life perspective and value of having vision (cf. Proverbs 29:18). The church needs the fervor and faith of the young to see God’s vision for life and ministry.
2.4 Salvation to all who call upon the Lord. A last, but not least, result of the Spirit-filling God’s people is an eagerness for evangelism to see people repent and trust the promise of God’s redemption (cf. Acts 2; Romans 10:13-15).
Imagine lying in a bed, dying.
– For what do you want to be remembered?
– Most importantly, are you ready to meet the Lord?
Joel 3:16 “For the LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.”
 Garrett, D. A. (1997). New American Commentary: Hosea, Joel (Vol. 19A, p. 370). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Some thoughts inspired from this article: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/god-can-restor-your-lost-years
 More about the role of prophesy can be understood by Sam Storms: http://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/prophets-and-prophecy