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Bible Pathways 09/21/2003

September 21

Read Joel 1 -- 3

In Today's Reading:

Plague of locusts; Joel's call to repentance; day of the Lord; the Holy Spirit; restoration of Israel; judgment on nations

Joel warned of the impending destruction of Jerusalem. In mercy, the Word of the LORD . . . came to Joel . . . . Blow . . . the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain (Joel 1:1; 2:1). The trumpet was often used to announce solemn days and feasts, and by watchmen to warn of approaching danger (Numbers 10:1-10). But, the sins of the Israelites were even more serious than the approaching enemies. Because of their sins, God could not bless them or protect them. Consequently, he foretold the disaster as if it had already taken place: A nation is come up upon My land, strong, and without number. . . . He has laid My vine waste, and barked (cut off the bark from) My fig tree: he has made it clean (completely) bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white (Joel 1:6-7). The day of the LORD comes. . . . a great people. . . . nothing shall escape them. . . . Therefore also now . . . turn . . . to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning (2:1-12).

The one indispensable condition for forgiveness and acceptance by the Lord is genuine repentance. True repentance is threefold. First, it is a sorrow for one's sin against God, as well as against others; second, it is a turning to the Lord, asking His forgiveness for all sins; and third, it is forsaking sin to live a life pleasing to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

On the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter preached the prophetic meaning of Joel's words, saying: Whoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21). He concluded his message by saying: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Spirit). For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off (2:38-39). We are among those that are afar off; and the invitation and promise is still open to all.

The prophet Joel also foretold of the final day of the LORD that is yet to take place: Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come (Joel 1:15). It will bring to a close the miserable rule of sinful mankind and finally usher in the glorious reign of Jesus Christ, the righteous King of Peace.

Jesus triumphantly spoke of that coming time when all the tribes of the earth . . . shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).

Christ Revealed:

As the One Who said: I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh (people) (Joel 2:28) — fulfilled in part on the day of Pentecost and still being fulfilled today (Acts 2:16-18).

Word Studies:

1:7 barked = cut off the bark from; 1:12 languisheth = wastes away, dies; 1:16 meat = food; 1:17 garners = storehouses; 2:6 all faces shall gather blackness = their faces will turn pale with terror.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Christian Resources International and Bruce Craft, Director · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Dorothy W. Ralston · Country: Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) (19 million) an island in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern tip of India · Major languages: Sinhala and Tamil · Christianity suppressed · 67% Buddhist; 15% Hindu; 8% Roman Catholic; 7% Muslim; .75% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for grace to overcome temptation, and God will reward you (James 1:12).

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 14:13

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