The Nations Judged (Joel 3:1 – 16)

Scripture Text:

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Joel 3:1 – 16

1. What “lost fortune” would you like to see returned to you? How might you get it back?

2. What is your favorite anti-war slogan?

  • peace is disarming
  • arms are for hugging, not war
  • one nuclear bomb could ruin your whole day
  • make love not war

3. Which slogan fits how you maintain peace in your life?

4. “In those days” (verse 1) refers to when? Explain your answer.

  • sometime after Joel but before Christ
  • after Christ but before now
  • a time yet to come
  • all of the above
  • nothing specific

5. For what five things will the nations be judged (verses 2 and 3)? How will they be “repaid”?

6. The “valley where the Lord judges” (verses 3 and 12) is not a known geographical site. What then might Joel intend by naming such a place?

7. Why are the nations to be judged called to prepare for war (verses 9 – 11), only to meet the Lord’s warriors? What is the outcome of that war (verse 13)?

8. Is that outcome determined more by human decision “in the valley”? Or by divine fiat from where God sits?

9. Compare verse 10a with Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3. Why do you think Joel reversed that traditional prophetic vision of peace?

10. If not peace, what promise from Joel can God’s people count on (verse 16c)?

11. Reflect on how people might be “sold” or “traded” Is prostitution or child pornography a problem in your community? Likewise, refugee relocation and prisoners of conscience? What do you suppose God thinks of this?

12. How do you respond to Joel saying, “God will return on your heads what you have done”?

13. Does Joel disturb your image of God? How so? Does your image of God allow, preclude or demand this kind of judgment on sinful nations or persons?

14. What “payback” schedule are you on with creditors? With God?

15. When (if ever) have you felt slain in the “Valley of Decision”? When have you felt secure in the Lord’s stronghold? What would get you out of the valley into the stronghold?

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The Day of the LORD (Joel 2:28 – 32)

Scripture Text:

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Joel 2:28 – 32

1. Can you keep a secret about love? Gifts? Birthdays?

2. When is “afterward” (verse 28; see Acts 2:16ff)? Could these “last days” also include “today”? Why?

3. To Joel’s people, what is unusual about the Spirit coming upon men and women? Likewise, to the apostle Peter’s mixed audience (Acts 2:16ff)? What is unusual to you about Joel’s prophecy? Why?

4. What does the Holy Spirit do? Reveal God’s will? Renew our energy? Recast the cosmos? Redeem the survivors?

5. How does this picture of the “Day of the Lord” differ from the previous one (chapter 2:1 – 11)?

6. What is the promise here for spiritual dryness? For spiritual exclusiveness and pride? For fear? For your church? For the world?

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The LORD’s Answer (Joel 2:18 – 27)

Scripture Text:

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Joel 2:18 – 27

1. Are your parents or spouse the “jealous” kind? What are they jealous about? When does their jealously seem redemptive?

2. What people or situations arouse your pity? Why?

3. When have you seen nature “rejoice”? What thing in “the wild” brings you the most joy?

4. To what time does “then” in verse 18 refer? Do verses 18 – 27 assume the “Day of the Lord” has come already? Or was that day averted and still to be expected? Or both? Why do you think so?

5. What does it mean that God is “jealous” for or takes “pity” on his people (see Exodus 20:5)? How can God claim and enforce such an exclusive relationship with us?

6. What specific “great things” does God do which correspond to the concrete situation of Israel (in chapter 1:1 – 20 and chapter 2:1 – 11)? What does this correspondence say about the effectiveness and completeness of God’s restoration?

7. What are some of the resulting changes in God’s people which He brings about by His zealous restoration? What is the result (verse 27) intended by God’s answer to the priests’ prayer (chapter 2:17)?

8. What does this tell you about God’s love, power and uniqueness? About God’s care for creation? For His covenant people?

9. Why do you think God responds so specifically to His people’s needs and prayers?

10. Very few want to be objects of someone else’s pity. Why would you or your church want God’s pity? Describe a time when you believe God took pity on you or your church. What current situation might call for God’s pity?

11. In your prayer life, when has God granted you a deeper “knowledge” of Himself?

12. When and why have you felt a sense of shame?

  • not knowing God was working in your life
  • enduring personal calamity
  • not living as a Christian
  • giving up too soon on God
  • giving up too soon on yourself or others

13. In these experiences, what do the promises given in verses 19 and 27 mean to you?

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