Blessings For God’s People (Joel 3:17 – 21)

Scripture Text:

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Joel 3:17 – 21

1. How does the word “then” (“so”) relate this passage to the previous passages in Joel? How are God’s judgment and salvation linked? Justice and mercy? Hope and despair?

2. What message does Joel intend with the contrasting images of 3:18, 19? How is one like “Paradise Lost” and the other “Paradise Regained”? How can one event pronounce irrevocable doom and promise such as abundant blessing (see Psalm 107:33 – 36)?

3. How does the last promise (verse 21, offering forgiveness and fellowship) relate to the specific situation of Israel which prompted these oracles (chapters 1 and 2) in the first place?

4. If the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem made it holy (verse 17), then what does the Lord’s presence in your life mean? What evidence is there of this?

5. If your privacy or property has been invaded one or more times (as with Israel), what comfort do you draw from Joel? How can the fountains of God’s blessings heal the wounds inflicted by those invaders?

6. How can you imitate Joel today?

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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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