On verses 18-32: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34; 1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6). We see that here in these verses. After urging his people to humble themselves through repentance, fasting and praying together (v12-17), Joel now describes what God will do for His people when they humble themselves that way:
– He will have pity on his people (v18)
– He will send them new grain, wine and oil that fully satisfies (v19, v24)
– He will drive out and defeat their enemies (v20)
– Instead of living in fear, the people will rejoice and be glad because of what God has done (v21-22)
– He will enable the land to bear fruit again (v22), causing autumn and spring rains to fall again (v23)
– He will repay His people for the years that the locusts have eaten (v25)
– He will give them everything they need and take away their shame (v26, 27b)
– He will restore His place among His people (v27)
– He will pour out His Spirit on His people, causing His people to prophesy and dream God-inspired dreams (v28-29)
– He will undo creation before creating a new heaven and earth, saving those who have called on His name (v30-32).
When I read these verses, I see a picture of the 3 stages of God’s work in our lives. It’s a picture that’s both poetic and prophetic at the same time.
Stage One: God sends us His Son Jesus. It is Jesus who gives us bread that truly satisfies, who drives out and defeats our enemy, who takes away our shame, and who makes a relationship with God possible once again (v19-27).
Stage Two: God sends us His Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to dream God’s dreams and chase God’s vision for our lives (v28-29). (Peter recognized this as well. In Acts 2:14-21 on the day of Pentecost, Peter sees the pouring out of God’s Spirit on His church as the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29.)
Stage Three: Third, Jesus will return. On that infamous “day of the Lord” sometime in the future, God will allow His Son Jesus to return to earth, to undo all of creation, to create a new heaven and a new earth and only those who call on Him will be saved (v30-32).
Praise God! As we move from the beginning of chapter 1 to the end of chapter 2 of Joel, we see the people going from despair and desperation to being delivered, empowered and fulfilled. When we humble ourselves before God and place our trust in Jesus, we go on a similar journey as well: from despair to hope, from desperation to fulfillment, from weakness to strength.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, that for those who trust in You, weeping remains for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). The wisest thing we can do is to humble ourselves before You. For You oppose the proud, but give grace to the humble. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!