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The Old Testament prophets were spokesmen for for their generation more than the future.

They were the proclaimers of timeless truths about God, humankind, and the critical issues of life.

“The Modern Message of the Minor prophets” is the theme for Sunday mornings for the coming months.

Today we are talking about God’s Grace Is Marvelous and Mysterious.

Text

Joel 2:25 Amplified Bible (AMP)

25 “And I will compensate you for the years

That the swarming locust has eaten,

Scripture Reading

Joel 1:2-14 (AMP)

The Devastation of Locusts

2 Hear this, O elders,

Listen closely, all inhabitants of the land!

Has such a thing as this occurred in your days,

Or even in the days of your fathers?

3 Tell your children about it,

And let your children tell their children,

And their children the next generation.

4 What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten;

And what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten;

And what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten [in judgment of Judah].

5 Awake [from your intoxication], you drunkards, and weep;

Wail, all you drinkers of wine,

Because of the [fresh] sweet wine

That is cut off from your mouth.

6 For a [pagan and hostile] nation has invaded My land [like locusts],

Mighty and without number;

Its teeth are the teeth of a lion,

And it has the fangs of a lioness.

7 It has made My vine (My people) a waste and object of horror,

And splintered and broken My fig tree.

It has stripped them completely bare and thrown them away;

Their branches have become white.

8 Wail like a virgin [bride] clothed with [a]sackcloth

For the bridegroom of her youth [who has died].

9 The [daily] grain offering and the drink offering are cut off

From the house of the Lord; The priests mourn Who minister to the Lord.

10 The field is ruined,

The ground mourns;

For the grain is ruined,

The new wine is dried up,

The fresh oil fails.

11 Be ashamed, O farmers;

Wail, O vinedressers,

For the wheat and for the barley,

Because the harvest of the field has perished.

12 The vine dries up

And the fig tree fails;

The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree,

All the trees of the field dry up,

Indeed, joy dries up and withdraws

From the sons of men.

13 Clothe yourselves with sackcloth

And lament (cry out in grief), O priests;

Wail, O ministers of the altar!

Come, spend the night in sackcloth [and pray without ceasing],

O ministers of my God,

For the grain offering and the drink offering

Are withheld from the house of your God.

Starvation and Drought

14 Consecrate a fast,

Proclaim 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 [in penitent pleadings].

Joel 2:21-27 (AMP)

21 Do not fear, O land; be glad and rejoice,

For the Lord has done great things!

22 Do not be afraid, you animals of the field,

For the pastures of the wilderness have turned green;

The tree has produced its fruit,

And the fig tree and the vine have yielded in full.

23 So rejoice, O children of Zion,

And delight in the Lord, your God;

For He has given you the early [autumn] rain in vindication

And He has poured down the rain for you,

The early [autumn] rain and the late [spring] rain, as before.

24 And the threshing floors shall be full of grain,

And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

25 “And I will compensate you for the years

That the swarming locust has eaten,

The creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust—

My great army which I sent among you.

26 “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied

And praise the name of the Lord your God

Who has dealt wondrously with you;

And My people shall never be put to shame.

27 “And you shall know [without any doubt] that I am in the midst of Israel [to protect and bless you],

And that I am the Lord your God,

And there is no other;

My people will never be put to shame.

Prayer

Father, we know that you love the world you have made, and you love every person who lives in it.

As we worship the beauty of your holiness this morning, we realise that many people do not know Jesus Christ as saviour.

We pray that our gifts may be use to share the Gospel with those who are lost.

We thank you that we know the gift of salvation through Your Son.

Inspire us to live and give, that through us, many who are enslaved by the chains of sin may be set free, and many who are living in darkness may come to know Him who is the Light of the World.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

Everyone knows which prophet is connected with a “great fish”.

Jonah!

But do you know who is connected  with a plague of locusts?

Joel!

Joel was one of the earliest prophets to Israel. 

Joel was preaching at a time when the land was strongly influenced by priests.

He often referred to religious rituals and matters associated with formal worship.

His book begins with a description of various disasters that had come on the land.

He then used a solemn call to repentance.

Most scholars agree that the verses in the book after verse 2:17 represent a time following the people’s repentance.

The Lord becomes compassionate and promises restoration and blessing.

We should read the whole book in one sitting, because it’s very possible that it’s three chapters represent one great sermon.

The most notable thing about the book of Joel is the picture it draws of God’s grace and His willingness to pour out His Spirit on the people when they turn in earnest repentance to Him.

  1. Desperation.

Joel opened His message with an alarming cry.

The land was completely devastated and the situation was desperate.

No one could remember anything like it.

The great grand children of those living would hear about the terrible plague of locusts that stripped away the land of its vegetation and left it scorched.

To Joel these events represented god’s chastising hand on the nation.

Instead of mentioning specific sins, he proclaimed God’s moral law had been violated.

He left it to God’s Spirit to impress on the people the individual sins they had committed.

Sin always brings punishment!

The moral law of sin and judgement affects un repentant people.

God’s chastising hand comes to His own children.

The situation in Israel is especially symbolic of the life of every person who lives in rebellion to God.

Sin brings crisis.

2. Invitation.

  1. No prophet of God properly condemns sin or threatens judgement unless he also gives an invitation to repent and experience God’s forgiveness.

The Hebrew prophets never hesitated to cry out against evil, both national and personal.

On the other hand, they were just as eager to proclaim their God as “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of greta kindness.”

Although several isolated verses in the first section urge the people to cry out to God, the actual call to repentance is found in the middle of the second chapter.

B. Deliverance from the penalty and the power of sin is based on one’s willingness to sincerely repent.

In order to repent, you must realise that sin is mot=re than a series of acts, it is a broken relationship with God.

Sins are the visible results which come from sin. 

Sin is a state and refers to the depraved nature, sins are acts, the result of and are the fruit of, the sinful nature.

Sin is character, but sins are conduct.

Sin is what we are , sins are what we have done.

Sin is the fact, sins are the act.

In other words, sin is an affair of the heart, and the need is not for ritual reformation or a change in worship methods, but a heartfelt sorrow for sin, genuine repentance, and full surrender to God’s purpose.

When people come to understand the spiritual nature of forgiveness tear their hearts and not their cloths.

3. Restoration.

A. God never refuses one whose heart is truly repentant.

1. From a national standpoint, God loved Israel and was jealous for His land.

Starting with Joel 2:18, Joel spoke in a comforting way.

The locusts, which were seen as punishment from God because of sin, would be driven away.

The land would be glad and rejoice.

A great future was in store for Israel.

2. The message is also for individuals.

In fact, every message from God is ultimately for individuals.

Sins would be forgiven and fellowship with God would be restored.

The people would know that God was in their midst and that He was their God.

They would never be disappointed in Him.

One statement by Joel regarding the restoration in strange but very important. He said in verse 2:25, “I will restore the years that the locusts have eaten”

This statement is more than just a promise of fertility to the land, it is a great promise for each individual.

God’s grace is an unusual thing.

One prophet told the returning exiles that they had received from the Lord’s hand double for all their sins (Isaiah 40:2)

Moses reminded the people of his day that with God’s help one could chase a thousand, but two could chase ten thousand in Deuteronomy 32:30.

Gideon’s three hundred men defeated the entire army of the Midianites .

The sweetness and inward joy that forgiveness brings is fantastic!

Those who taste such joy know God’s love in a unique way.

Such forgiveness makes people remarkably sensitive to the spiritual weaknesses of others.

Those who have been forgiven much can love much and give themselves in service in an exceptional way, compensating for years wasted in sin.

B. We must be careful, however..

It is always better not to have sinned so deeply.

The scars remain although the sins are forgiven.

We may tend to express an overbearing zeal that could be emotionally unhealthy.

Extremism will defeat or seriously damage our well meaning witness.

On the other hand, we are thrilled at the prospect of God restoring the years that the locusts have eaten.

We should never limit the matchless power of God’s grace.

With Him all things are possible. 

Conclusion.

God is always present in the life of a nation.

He uses a collective group of people as long as they can be used, and He earnestly desires to see nations continue forever in His will.

Israel was used by God in a unique way to bring Jesus into the world.

He lovingly watched over the nation because He had chosen it as His instrument.

The greatest lesson in Joel’s prophecy should be the message directed at individuals.

Sin brings judgement, but God’s grace brings forgiveness, resulting in joy, peace, and the outpouring of God’s Spirit.

We must remember that although God loves those who are undeserving, they must repent of sin to receive salvation.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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