NextLevel Online: Rend Your Hearts: A study through the Book of Joel

Session 3: Rend Your Hearts…God Will Come Down (Joel 1:12-15; 2:12-32)

In this session, we’re looking at the Minor Prophet Joel under the theme “Rend Your Hearts.” A key idea, of course, is repentance. This session also covers how God comes down when we repent.



Classroom

Classroom Instructions

Lesson
Materials: Lesson Outline
Leader

We’re looking at the Minor Prophet Joel under the theme “Rend Your Hearts.” A key idea, of course, is repentance.

  • The NT word means “to change the mind.”

  • The OT word means “to change the direction or behavior or return to previous behavior.”

  • A man by the name of Chamberlain said, “Repentance is moving from the mind of the flesh to the mind of the Spirit” (The Meaning of Repentance).

  • James Smith said, “It is not just trimming the tree of sin but cutting it down. It is not just turning over a new leaf but casting away the old book” (The Minor Prophets, 75).

  • According to the founding academic dean of Ozark Christian College, Seth Wilson, it is “to change the desires or affections.”

  • One preacher said, “It is agreeing with God against yourself.”

I don’t want us to think that our repentance will automatically push God’s hand.

God invites us to turn our lives toward him.

How God comes down when we repent:

  • The Call to Serious Repentance (1:13-15; 2:12-17)

    • The call for the leaders to repent—priests, ministers, and elders.

    • The evidence of this repentance will be sackcloth, lamentations, proper offerings, fasting, assembling at the temple.

    • This call is no small thing.

    • Important Words:

      • Return (shub)

      • Steadfast love (chesed).

    • This is about as serious as Jesus is in Luke 13:1-5.

  • Repentance Reverses the Bad News (2:18-27)

    • What gets removed when we repent:

      • Reproach

      • Armies are driven away

      • Land, animals, and trees will be glad

      • People are blessed

      • God will be praised and known

  • Repentance Assures the Gift of God (2:28-32)

    • This is such a significant passage in light of its use in the New Testament. Joel becomes the prophet of Pentecost.

    • Holy Spirit phenomena is evident in prophecy without gender or age specificity. Just like God pours out rain and blessings on creation physically, so he pours out himself generously on all his people.

    • What about the cosmic signs?

    • In other words, the Spirit age is the beginning of the end.

The bottom line: God is going to save his people from locust plagues, from drought, and from invading armies. We just need to repent…and God will meet us by coming down.

Discussion Questions:

  • Sackcloth, lamentations, grain and drink offerings, fasting, and solemn assemblies were all evidence of repentance in Joel’s day. What gives evidence of repentance today in the new covenant?

  • How does God’s character make repenting more inviting?

  • Would we always know when God had removed an enemy from us?

  • How does having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit aid repentance (Cf. John 16:8-11)?

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.