Have you ever missed out on the benefit of something because it seemed either too difficult or insignificant? Maybe you think – “I have enough going on in my life, so I’m not going to put any time into that information, task or activity.” It clearly is beyond me, or maybe I view it as irrelevant. Tragically, this can often be the way Christians look at the prophetic books in general, but especially the last twelve prophetic books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
This Sunday we will be starting a new series entitled, The Other Twelve. We will be spending time looking into the Old Testament books that are often referred to as the Minor Prophets. They are not called minor because they are less significant, but because they are briefer than the letters from the other prophets. We will find out over the next three months that God has always used his prophets to speak needed truth to his people.
Time and time again through Scripture we see the patience, discipline and love of God. He doesn’t hide His truth from us, but we often need a refresher course in it. The prophets come to us time and again to bring us back and to recalibrate our perspective as God’s people. We tend to drift or downright rebel from what is right and we find ourselves attracted to the things that draw us away from God Almighty. The prophets are called by God to deliver a message of correction and redemption. It wasn’t always an easy message and the prophets were often rejected by the very people they came to bless because the people didn’t necessarily want to be corrected. Kind of like me!
This week we will look specifically at the prophet Joel. Technically the first minor prophet is Hosea, but we are going to jump over Hosea since Pastor Ben spoke on that book just a few weeks back. The prophet Joel was given the task of speaking the difficult word of a coming “plague of locusts” and the approaching “Day of the Lord” which is the final judgment. The primary reason he spoke this difficult message was that “even now” God will forgive as you repent. God was and is always calling us to turn from all that opposes His Kingdom to live in His loving care and truth in obedience.
We will also be looking at the exciting reality that when God speaks to us it will always be true. A prophet’s primary calling is to speak the necessary current truth for the day, but at times there is also a future component to the message. In Joel 2 we see the coming “pouring out of the spirit of God” that was fulfilled in Acts 2 as Peter spoke to the newly formed Church of Jesus Christ. Peter quotes Joel’s ancient message as being fulfilled as the message of Jesus was understood by people of all different languages and ethnic backgrounds.
Joel declared in 2.28-29 that all people can be proclaimers of God’s truth when he said,
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
Pastor Nick Mundis