Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
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?