"Prophetability - lessons of strength and power in the minor prophets!"
Dating the book of Joel has been a daunting task for scholars. Perhaps the most compelling arguments for dating the writing of Joel explains this omission by suggesting the prophecy occurred in the time following Judah’s only ruling queen, Athaliah (d. 835 BC). When she died, she left only her young son, Joash, to rule. However, because Joash was too young to rule, the priest Jehoida ruled in his place until he came of age. Therefore, if Joel prophesied during this care-taking period, it would make sense that he mentioned no official king. For the purposes of this writing about the prophecy of Joel it is sufficient to say that the way God demonstrated His grace during the judgement of His people will be our focus.
There is a short phrase in Joel 3:16 that seems to summarize the message of Joel for the believer who is searching for strength and power for living. The phrase is;
“…But the Lord will be a refuge for his people.”
Despite the need for God to judge the evil His people were doing, He found it in his heart to show them grace and mercy and to provide for them a “refuge” during their trouble.
When it comes to trouble, if you can get in to it God can get you out of it.
God is your Protection. He is your security. That is precisely what this verse means when it says that “the Lord will be a refuge for his people.” We hear God called many things in the Bible. He is our savior, provider, healer, restorer, and many other wonderful attributes describe His beneficence but Joel calls Him “A Refuge.”
When I think of a Refuge I get picture of a secure place to be during a storm. When I was a kid I discovered that my ability to get into trouble exceeded my ability to get out of trouble. My mouth could get me into things my ability to fight could not get me out of. It was the opposite for my brother. I have always thought of him as able to handle anything. I remember running from some older boys in my neighborhood who were harassing me. I knew where my brother was so I let them chase me straight to him. He was my refuge
The message of Joel in one sentence is “Let your Trouble Chase you to Jesus!”
Have you found God to be your protection and security during a storm? Then you know the benefits of God being our refuge. That is one kind of Refuge but when I think of a refuge I also picture a tank, like an army tank. Haven’t you seen how tanks just ride over everything…..I mean…THAT’S POWER! THAT’S STRENGTH. With God as your refuge you can go through anything!
REFUGE FROM JUDGMENT
Jesus Christ is our refuge from God’s judgment. Joel introduces a new concept to the Bible, “The Day of the Lord.” It refers to God’s judgment on evil. Chapters 1 and 2 are a PRONOUNCEMENT of God’s Judgment on the evil His people were doing AND a PROMISE of His Grace. God never introduces judgment without also introducing grace. Christians sometime misunderstand God’s judgment and mistake it as an attitude of vengeance.
God is not mad at you because you sin. God loves you and wants to help you overcome sin. His judgment is inseparable from his righteousness. God expects the same from everyone but knows are individual limitations. He provides grace accordingly.
God is not in the business of Judging you. God is in the business of judging the evil you do. Joel 1:15 says; “Woe because of that Day! For the day of the Lord is near and will come as devastation from the Almighty!” There is another sharp warning shortly thereafter, in Joel 2: 13-14, it states; “Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and he relents from sending disaster. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind him…”
God is also a spiritual refuge. A refuge includes necessities and items required to survive. The Spiritual refuge of God includes not only physical empowerment but also spiritual empowerment for the believer. In Joel 2: 28-32, the writer expresses that “after this I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. 29 I will even pour out my Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days. 30 I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, or there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the Lord promised, among the survivors the Lord calls.” There is a bit of irony here isn’t there. God is presenting prophecy as a gift while prophesying judgment. Perhaps you don’t feel prophecy is much of a gift but, in fact, it is. Through prophecy God tells us what to expect.
You see, in the Spirit, we can see what God plans for us and not what is happening to us. In the spirit you have dreams and visions. In the spirit you can see what will be and not what is. In the spirit you can see ahead of your troubles. Even the enslaved have hope because God’s spiritual refuge is filled with Hope. Miracles and Wonders happen in the spirit! The spirit makes it possible!
Jesus is our blessed refuge. When you run to Jesus you run to Blessings!
Toward Jesus is Toward the Positive. You don’t lose anything running to Christ. You gain everything running to Him. In Joel 3: 17-18, the Bible says; “Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. Jerusalem will be holy, and foreigners will never overrun it again. 18 In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk.”
Although there is trouble in your life. Even when you make mistakes and fail God, you receive blessings from Him when you run to Jesus as your Refuge! - Dr. Wiley Hughes
Rev. Wiley Hughes
D.Min., Psy.D., FBPPC, LPCA, NCC
Apostolic Leader of Destiny Now