Joel 3:13-21 – Our Refuge

Read Joel 3:13-21

God is our refuge. Joel doesn’t use a lot of metaphors to describe God. We’ve have seen him portrayed as the leader of an army, a judge, and a roaring lion! But my favorite of all is found in verse 16, “But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel.”

Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress” has some fitting words for the idea of God as our refuge and strong fortress. Growing up Lutheran, this is a song I sang over and over but am only now seeing the exquisite beauty in these words.

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Joel 3:1-12 – Judgment for Our Enemies

Read Joel 3:1-12

In our previous reading, Joel speaks of a time when those who call upon the LORD will be saved. This prophecy seeks to alert all the enemies who ever harmed God’s people that their judgment is at hand. They were not going to get away with their abuse of God’s loved ones. The time was coming for “pay backs.” God said to the enemies of his people, “I will strike swiftly and pay you back for everything you have done.”

We see here the example of God gathering all nations together in one place. The word Jehoshaphat means “the LORD judges,” so this was probably a symbolic reference, not necessarily a physical location. Can we assume that God still judges those who abuse us?

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Joel 2:28-32 – Holy Spirit Power

Read Joel 2:28-32

Did you recognize these words from Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2? Peter was bold that day because of the Holy’s spirit’s power he was tapping into. He proclaimed that what the people were seeing was a fulfillment of this very prophecy of Joel. It has been suggested that Pentecost was only the beginning of the “age of fulfillment” of this prophecy.

What spoke to me the loudest was that God promised us the Holy Spirit through his prophet, Joel, all those years before Jesus walked the earth. Jesus helped us understand what that promise meant. When you feel the Holy Spirit’s power coursing through your body, it’s a sensation that is hard to describe. What an honor to receive such a gift from God!

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Joel 2:18-27 – Restoration

Read Joel 2:18-27

What divine intervention! If Joel’s earlier words led his audience to believe they would be the laughingstock for belonging to the one true God, this passage lessens the distress. Can we assume that the people did repent and pray and this is God’s response?

Have you ever feared or experienced mockery for your faith? How did that make you feel? Did you realize God was there all the time?

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Joel 2:12-17 – Repentance

Read Joel 2:12-17

This is a text for difficult times. Coming off the warning of the locusts and the feared day of the LORD, people were needing to know where to turn. Where do we turn in our own times of struggle? Here’s a word from the LORD for your weary soul. “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.”

God doesn’t expect us to “get our act together” before we approach him. That doesn’t matter to him. He wants us to come to him before it’s too late. The enemy is circling, trying to distract us and interfere with our divine allegiance daily. We can be sure these prophetic words are for us, too.

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