TEACHER: Ken Hicks
We’re going to dive into another story of the Prophet Joel. Joel lived and prophesied early in Israel’s History, after King Solomon, but before the Exile. We think he was probably a student of Elisha.
His Letter was written at a time when a LOT of things had gone wrong in Israel. and Joel comes along to Diagnose the Problem … and he tells them there’s only One Real Problem.
ONE: A Self-Inflicted Plague. (Joel 1:4-2:5)
Joel opens this Letter w/ a description of a Huge Plague of Locusts. Joel uses this Locust Plague as both an Illustration of their Sin … as well as a Warning of God’s Future Judgment of their Sin too!
One of the things that stands out to me is this Illustration & Portrait of the collision of the Passive & Active Dimensions of the Wrath of God … and how they can work together too!
- The Passive Wrath of God – where God is allowing us to Suffer the Natural Consequences of our Sin.
- The Active Wrath of God … sort of that Lightning Bolt of Judgment from Heaven above.
Any experience of the Painful consequences of our Sin in our life … before it’s too late … it’s actually a portrait of God’s Mercy & Love, trying to wake us up to what’s happening … and what’s coming.
He’s not trying to PAY US BACK … He’s trying to BRING US BACK!
TWO: What God Desires: Repentance (Joel 2:12-13)
The thing we have to catch here is the kind of REPENTANCE God is calling us towards is the kind of REPENTANCE that grows out of LOVE.
Here’s what I’ve discovered in my own life … when what bothers me the most about my Sin is that it caused some sort of Painful Circumstances in my life … or made me feel Guilty or Ashamed … my REPENTANCE is often short-lived.
BUT, when those areas where my heart has been Broken over how my decisions have caused Pain towards God … and literally driven His Presence from my life in that space … those are the moments of true REPENTANCE that have caused lasting changes In-Me.
THREE: Look How God Responds (Joel 2:14-19)
Mercy is withholding from us the Wrath we DO Deserve! Grace is His pouring out on us goodness that we DO NOT Deserve.
CONTENTMENT is one of God’s most incredible Heavenly Gifts. CONTENTMENT is a Character Quality … not a Condition!
- Sometimes … God may indeed give us more Stuff … and Sometimes He may give us Greater Contentment in what we already have.
- Sometimes … God may take away the Pain … and Sometimes He may give us Joy & Peace within the Pain.
- He may bless us w/ a Better Marriage … or He may give us Peace that passes all Understanding in a painful marriage.
When God Restores Us … We Are Going to Want to Tell Someone!
God doesn’t just do that so we can feel better … He wants some Witnesses!!!! And one the evidences of God’s Spirit in us is that we are telling people and bearing witness … we have to ask …
- Are we telling people about Him and what He has done and what He is doing?
- Are we overflowing that every moment w/in the lives of our children?
You name it … is God’s Spirit flowing w/in our Fellowship?
The absence of God’s Power & Blessing in our Life … in our Church … you name it … is not God’s unwillingness … but rather our own Sin.