Joel 2:1-32. 5/28/2008. Rend Your Hearts and I Will Pour Out My Spirit

Rend Your Hearts and I Will Pour Out My Spirit

Joel 2:1- 32                                                                                                             Lesson 2

Key verse 2:28                           Joel Bible School NIU UBF 5/28/08 Delivered by Julie Jesmer

“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.”

    In yesterday’s passage we learned that God provided a beautiful vineyard for his people. They enjoyed abundant harvests and great joy year after year. But they took their blessings for granted and they became complacent. They ignored God’s vision for them, to use all that God had provided to live as a Kingdom of Priests and Holy Nation. As a result they were overrun by an army of locusts. There land was devastated. They had no hope at all. Why did God subject them to such suffering and hardship? We learned that it was because God wanted them repent and cry out to him. All our trials and hardship of life are there so we can draw near to our God as his people and cry out to him in prayer.

In this passage we continue to see the destructive swarms of locusts. But we also see God’s complete forgiveness on those who repent. Look at verse 1, “ Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand-”  To blow the trumpet means to let the people know. “sound the alarm”  There are some modern day alarms in Dekalb. They are to warn the people of coming tornadoes. When they hear the siren they need to take immediate action and go into their basements or stand in the doorframes of their homes or lay in your bathtub. Julie responded very well one year. When the alarms went off she took a mattress in the basement of the Bible house and had all the kids lay downstairs. The trumpet and the alarm were meant for the people to wake up from their spiritual slumber and  prepare themselves for what is to come.

The army of locust, that were descending, on the land were merciless. Look at verses 2-10. Though it was terrible, the locust invasion was an act of God’s judgment on the people of Judah. The locust spared nothing. Before them, the land is like the Garden of Eden; behind them, a desert waste. There is only one thing that I know that even comes close to this type of devastation. Do you know what it is? …The snack table after the Sunday Service. The Garden of Eden was where Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with God forever. It was the land of perfect paradise. It was the land that God intended for them to dwell in forever. Even in the fallen world God provided a land that was like Eden. It was the perfect vineyard. But because of their complacency and their sin, the swarms of locusts would lay it bare.

What was behind this devastation? Look at verse 11, “The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command.  The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?” They are the Lord’s army. He is allowing it to happen for his purpose. He uses his sovereign authority over nature to bring people to repentance so that he can save them. God uses his sovereignty to accomplish his redemptive purpose. How do respond to the Lord’s discipline in your life? Do you see God?  Do you become bitter and curse God and blame others? As we learned in the last lesson we find that God does these things to help us to draw near to him and to cry out to him. Without his discipline we would drift away from God and totally turn our backs on God. They would become like the 10 lost tribes of Israel. How did they become lost? They forgot about God. They lost their identity as God’s people. They compromised with the nations around them to blend in. In the processes they became lost.

What about us. What if God did not subject us to his divine discipline and training at times? We would cease to call out to God. We would drift away and loose our identity as God’s holy people. We may even be overcome by unbelief. We would cease to be part of the body of believers. God is very concerned about this. He loves us and so he disciplines us as his own sons and daughters. (Hebrews  12:5-7) Instead of being bitter about God’s divine discipline we need to thank God that he is keeping us in his love. Let us say, “Thank you Lord! for keeping us in your love!”  

      We can come to God no matter what condition we may be in. Look at verse 12,” “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” “Even now” means from where you are now. Deuteronomy 4:29, But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”   From where? From where you are. From your present spiritual condition. Whatever condition you are in it is the best time to turn to the Lord. God told his people to turn to him while there was still time. We may think that we have all the time in the world. Young people think they are immortal. But time is also running our for us. Don’t let anything hold you back from turning to him.  Now is the day of salvation.

We see what true repentance is. Look at verses 13-15. Here we find a definition of repentance. Repentance cannot be superficial. Tearing one’s clothes is not enough. We must offer God our broken and contrite hearts. Repentance is not just regret for sins; it is returning to the Lord with all one’s heart and humbly asking him for his mercy. We must freely return to the Lord…without reservation. When we came to him with humble repentant hearts, we have nothing to fear. Look at 13 again. Our God is gracious and compassionate.  He is merciful. God will forgive you and accept you right now.

When the Lord’s people repent and plead for his mercy, he will hear. He will do great things for them. He will drive the army of locusts into the sea and will restore the land. Trees and vines will bear fruit; the grain harvest will be abundant. The wild animals will rejoice.

God will also restore the spiritual life of his people. Look at verses 15-17. Joel called all the people to gather together. They needed to fast. They needed to form a sacred assembly. This is a coming together of God’s people to pray and glorify God together. They needed to consecrate this assembly. It was to be a holy vessel. God works through his people who form a holy vessel of prayer together.

The spiritual leaders were to take the lead to set the example. When the spiritual leaders of the land lead the way in repentance and prayer then there can be revival. I remember reading about the Pyongyang revival of 1907. It happened in what is now North Korea. It began when leaders publicly repented of their sins. They repented of their personal hatreds, saying in tears, “I hated you so much. But I realize how great a sinner I am and how much Jesus loves you and me. Can you forgive me?” Thousands followed their example of repentance and calling out to God in prayer. A great and sustained revival happened. It carried on and on for the last one hundred years. This revival bore fruit, so much fruit that today the Korean church is poised to eclipse America in the area of world missions.

God saves his people, when they repent, for another reason. Look at Verse 17b, “… Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ” When God’s people are restored, the people will know that Jehovah is God and there is no other. They will praise his name, for he is with his people.

There is also an onus on the people to create and environment for restoration to take place, not just the elders. Look at Verse 16b, “… bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.” It is never easy to come together to form a holy vessel, but there are times when God demands it. We all have so many reasonable sounding excuses. In this passage are some good sounding excuses. A baby that is nursing…a newly married couple on their honeymoon. These are situations where we might say to God, “I can’t come now.” But even these people were to drop what they were doing and come and gather with God’s people to pray.  We can have this priority when we remember the words of Jesus, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

Look at verses 18-26. Joel reached a turning point in his prophecy, moving from prophesying about an outpouring of God’s judgment to prophesying about an outpouring of God’s forgiveness and blessing. Before there were fasting , plagues and funerals. But later there will be feasting, harvesting, and songs of praise. This happened when they came together as God’s people to repent and pray. When they came together with a clear priority and when the spiritual leaders took the lead in the repentance and prayer. When we truly concern about the glory of God and his reputation in the world. Then God will pour out his blessings on his people. Listen to what God says in 2 Chronicles 7;13-15; “13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”

God also promises to live among his people. Look at verse 28a, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people….” God will totally forgive us of our sins. When we have a problem with someone we might be able to muster up some forgiveness, but mostly we hold grudges. We can never move in with that person. But God is not like us. When he forgives, he totally forgives. Completely! He not only forgives, but he says, “hey… can we be room mates?” and he moves into our hearts through his Holy Spirit. His forgiveness completely washes our hearts clean enabling his Holy Spirit to dwell. Praise God! And he is an equal opportunity tenant. He will dwell in all different types of people’s hearts. He never discriminates. All the people have to do is repent and cry out to God and receive his salvation through Jesus Christ.

Lets read verses 28b-31, “Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” God was not only restoring their land and their prosperity, but also their spiritual life. Once they were hopeless but now they would be full of dreams and full of visions for the future. God opened their eyes to endless possibilities when they enter into the right relationship with him. God is opening our eyes to see vision for our Triton and NIU campus. (List them)

In verse 28, the people used to say despairing words filled with bitterness and unbelief. But now they would prophesy. They would give the word of God, in meaningful ways to the people of their generation. They would speak words grace and hope and truth. They would speak of the way of salvation.

God opened wide the way of salvation to all who repent and believe. Look at Verse 32, “32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.” God has opened the way of salvation. It is through repentance and faith in Jesus. Indeed, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, Jesus! will be saved (Ro 10:13; Acts 2:21). For  the Lord pours out his Spirit into repentant hearts.

Through this passage let us rend our hearts and come to him in sincere repentance and faith. Let us cry out to him and let him work in our lives. Let us sound the trumpet at tell others of this great and wonderful salvation. Let us invite his Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts and fill our hearts with hope and vision for our campus’ and nation. Let us speak words of God to the people of our generation.

Rend Your Hearts and I Will Pour Out My Spirit

Joel 2:1- 32                                                                                                                   Lesson 2

Key verse 2:28

“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.”

Part 1: Return To The Lord (1-17)

1.  What does it mean to “blow the trumpet” and “Sound the alarm”? (1) How is the destruction described? (2-10) Who is allowing this army of locusts to devour the land? (11) Why?

2.  What does “even now” mean? (12) What response is God looking for from his people? (13- 15) What does it mean to rend our hearts and return to the Lord?

3. How did God want to restore the spiritual life of his people? (15-17) What is one thing that God is concerned about, that we should also? (17b) What kind of priority should we have? (16b) How can this type of communal repentance happen? (Matthew 6:33)

Part 2: God Will Dwell Among His People (18-27)

4. What will be God’s response if they repent? In what ways will be bless them? (18-26) What will be another result? (27)

5.   What reveals God’s desire to dwell among his people? (28a) What will be the fruit when God dwells in our hearts through his spirit? Think about each type of person. What does it mean to prophesy? to dream dreams? to see visions?


6. What is God’s further promise? (32) What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord? What does it mean to be delivered by God? Think about my own need for deliverance. What does it mean that God calls us?











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