Day 1

Joel’s Prophecy

from the reading plan

Joel 1:1-14, Isaiah 17:10-11, Acts 2:17-21

The book of Joel opens with bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. Locusts, to be precise. And they are eating everything in sight. They are like a giant eraser, wiping clean the chalky fields of Israel. The Lord wants His people to know the plague is meant to wake them up to their need to repent. Devastation and desperation have this effect on people. It will cause us to cry out to the Lord for salvation (Joel 1:14).

Joel is one of the Minor Prophets in Scripture. What are the Minor Prophets, you ask? For starters, they are books, not people. There are twelve of them: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. These books are called “minor” because of their length. Compared to the “major” prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel—they are relatively short. But they are no less important than any other part of God’s holy Word.

Books like Joel confront, head on, the fracturing effects of sin and present a God who is committed to rooting it out, no matter how deep it runs. We need that. Occasionally, as we see in these opening verses from Joel, God roots out sin by bringing us low. I don’t know about you, but I often need to be humbled before I have ears to listen to the Lord.

Joel and the other Minor Prophets talk a lot about judgment, but they also talk about hope. Today, we see the judgment of God from this side of Christ’s finished work on the cross. We take comfort in knowing God’s wrath has been satisfied through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

It is tempting to want to distance ourselves from really studying the wrath and judgment of God. It can be uncomfortable to look at. But when we turn aside from examining God’s righteous judgment, we lose sight of His holiness and majesty, and in the process also lose a sense of the magnificence of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.

The Minor Prophets help us with this. If we come to these books—books like Joel—with a humble posture, they will break our hearts in the best way. They show the darkness of sin and leave us desperate for a salvation none of us could accomplish on our own. The Minor Prophets remind us of our hope in Christ, as they also remind us that apart from Him, we have no other hope.

As you read through these books, perhaps a good verse to keep at the ready, in order to remember both our desperation and God’s salvation in Christ, is Joel 1:14:

Announce a sacred fast;
proclaim an assembly!
Gather the elders
and all the residents of the land
at the house of the Lord your God,
and cry out to the Lord.

Written by Russ Ramsey

Post Comments (11)

11 thoughts on "Joel’s Prophecy"

  1. Anthony says:

    It’s important for us to remember our sin when we come before the Lord. Forgiveness has no power without sin. Sin is like a plague, like locusts. We need his help to overcome this, because when you’re covered in locusts, there is nothing you can do about it without someone else’s help.

  2. James Trimble says:

    How easy it is to forget the true cost of sin. Living under the New Covenant, in which Christ took the consequences of our sin upon himself, we can sometimes forget that the wages of sin is death. The Israelites were given a visceral reminder of the consequences of their sin every time they slaughtered their best animals as a sacrificial offering. We, however, need only repent and ask for forgiveness and it is freely given. How privileged we are.

    It is no wonder, then, that God sometimes needs to humble us in order to remind us of our need to rely on him. Without physical, external reminders of our sinfulness, it can be easy to forget how utterly dependent we are upon Him for our righteousness.

  3. Joseph says:

    It’s so profound to me how the Lord uses his word to make an impact and I love the studies reminder that studying his wrath reminds us just how powerful and important the cross is for our lives. The desperation of his people and the faith demanded is taken for granted, by me especially, because we often simplify the powerful act of the cross to a story or a statement. A price was paid, I forget too often how expensive that cost was.

  4. Jeremy Sutphen says:


  5. Jonathan says:

    Lord, help me remember that your are here with me during both feast AND famine, and you will always be near.

  6. Stephen A says:

    “A God who is committed to rooting out sin, no matter how deep it runs.”

    I’ve never fully grasped that idea that God is doing the work to root out our sin. I’ve always been stuck in thought that we have to fix it but God loves us even when we’re failing at it.

  7. Jordan says:

    It’s so hard sometimes, not to realize, but maybe to actually care about the sin in my life unless I see the consequences of it. Of course I don’t want to experience consequences, but unless I do, I don’t understand the gravity of what I’m doing. Jesus, change my heart. Help me to see my sin for what it is, help me hate the sin in me.

  8. Sam H says:

    God is certainly a just god and He won’t be made out to be a fool. I look at that though and see He is still faithful. In the midst of their tribulation from the locusts, He places prophets in the midst of the country that is being punished. God is still giving them opportunities to repent and cry out to Him in repentance. How incredible is He to continue giving those opportunities.

  9. Kevin says:

    Day 1: The need to be humbled sometimes outweighs the initial desire to want to chase the lord. We’re doing good, things are going our way and we rely on our own strength to get us through. I think God uses a lot of situations to humble us as believers to remind us where our priorities need to lie. Or hope is in him, not ourselves.

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  11. suba suba says:

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