Rend Your Heart (Joel 2:12 – 18)

Scripture Text:

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Joel 2:12 – 18

1. When, if ever, have you fasted from food? Drink? Dates? TV?

2. What was your incentives? The results? Would you do it again?

3. With destruction at the Lord’s hand near, what does Joel expect?

4. What is meant by “rend your heart and not your garments” (verse 13)? What else should prompt them to return to God (see Exodus 34:6, 7 and Nehemiah 9:16, 17)?

5. Why are daily temple offerings so key (verse 14; see Daniel 8:11 – 13)? For what blessings does Joel hope?

6. Who is this event for? Why “everyone”? Why does the bridal party “never” fast (verse 16; see Mark 2:19, 20)?

7. What is the point in the priests’ prayer for Israel (verse 17)?

8. Can repentance of the heart be true without “fasting and mourning”? How?

9. What would a spiritual fast include today? How would that differ from a spiritual diet?

10. What would corporate repentance require for the church? For the nation? What role should clergy take?

11. Do others ask, “where is your God” of your nation or you? When was that said of Christ (Matthew 27:43 – 46)?

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An Army of Locusts (Joel 2:1 – 11)

Scripture Text:

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Joel 2:1 – 11

1. What does it take to rouse you from sleep?

2. What memories of waking up do you have from camping days?

3. What is the funniest or most embarrassing consequence of your sleeping through an alarm?

4. How are the images of this army like (and unlike) the army of locusts that previously invaded the land (Joel chapter 1)? How are these images like human invaders? How are they larger than life, taking on theological meaning?

5. How do these poetic images engage and exhaust all five senses to understand them?

6. What might the trumpet (verse 1) signify? Call to fast? Call to action? Call of the Lord’s coming? Or what?

7. Since his people have just experienced a locust plague and ensuing famine, why do you think Joel is dwelling on this theme of the coming “Day of the Lord”?

8. Who is at the head of this army? What does that mean?

9. How do you respond to the image of the Lord as the head of a destructive army? What jolts your senses about that?

10. If Joel were a street preacher in your community trumpeting this message about the coming “Day of the Lord”, what would be the response from the people? From you?

11. Each of us may be part of the Lord’s army (maybe not in the way described here). When, if ever, have you sensed God’s call to battle? With what or whom?

12. How does one endure the coming Day of the Lord (verse 11)? What feelings do you have about that day? Are they mixed?

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A Call to Repentance/Lamentation (Joel 1:13 – 20)

Scripture Text:

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Joel 1:13 – 20

1. What social statement are you making with the clothes your wear? Dressed to kill? Out of it? In charge?

2. If the clothes you have on were all made of burlap, how would you feel?

3. What is Joel calling the priests to do? Likewise, the elders? Why fast and pray (see Leviticus 16:29)?

4. What is the link between their current famine and the future “Day of the Lord” (verses 14 and 15)? From Amos 5:18ff, what else might Joel be associating withe this day when the Lord is clear vindicated and manifest in earthly history? What does “the Lord’s Day” mean today?

5. How does Joel depict this drought-stricken land (verses 16 – 20)? What is the point of picturing God as the Lord of plants and animals, land and water?

6. If locust consume all that is edible, and fire destroys what remains, where then is hope (verses 16, 19)?

7. Do you know of any community or church gathering to cry out to God when resources have dried up? What purposes do such gatherings fulfill?

8. When have you felt like your resources (spiritual, financial, physical) were drying up or burnt out? Did you or could you cry out to God? Why or why not? What happened?

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