We know very little about Joel – only that he was a prophet and the son of Pethuel. He may have lived in Jerusalem because his audience was Judah, the southern kingdom. Whoever he was, Joel speaks forthrightly and forcefully in this short and powerful book. His message is one of foreboding and warning, but it is also filled with hope. Joel states that our Creator, the omnipotent Judge, is also merciful, and he wants to bless all those who trust him.
Joel begins by describing a terrible plague of locusts that covers the land and devours the crops. The devastation wrought by these creatures is but a foretaste of the coming judgment of God, the “day of the Lord.” Joel, therefore, urges the people to turn from their sin and turn back to God. Woven into this message of judgment and the need for repentance is an affirmation of God’s kindness and the blessings he promises for all who follow him. In fact, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (2:32).
As you read Joel, catch his vision of the power and might of God and of God’s ultimate judgment of sin. Choose to follow, obey, and worship God alone as your sovereign Lord.
“Joel, son of Pethuel,” whose name means “Yahweh is God,” gives the book its title. Little is known of him except what is learned from the book itself.
Estimated for dating the book range from the ninth to the fourth centuries B. C. While no concensus has been reached, most scholrs hold to a date after the exile (586 B. C.).
To Whom Written:
The people of Judah, the southern kingdom, and God’s people everywhere.
To download a PDF outline of Joel click here.
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