Review Day: Joel 1-3

DateVersionReading Plan
@October 23, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


Review conducted using the TGC’s Knowing the Bible: Joel, Amos, and Obadiah by Kristofer D. Holroyd. All pull quotes are taken from this resource.

God’s holiness and perfect character demand that same perfect morality from all people. When we fail to obey God’s demands, that disobedience—sin—earns God’s judgment. Just as a violation of civil law earns the penalties of the law, so do violations of God’s character and laws earn his judgment and penalties.

This idea of “earning God’s judgment” is interesting. As Christians, we know that we cannot earn salvation by our own works (thus our desperate need for Christ), but we do earn something. As sinful creatures, our inherently rebellious nature goes beyond mere aloofness with God to actively meriting His judgment of us.

Repentance is a change of heart and mind over one’s attitude toward God or one’s actions; it is a turning away from sin and a turning toward God. Accordingly, repentance involves more than just an external confession of guilt or expression of regret; rather, this inward change of heart and mind must result in a grieving over the wrong committed, a hating of the offense, and an earnest desire for the mercy and forgiveness of God. Such repentance necessarily results in changed behavior.

Heartfelt repentance is multifaceted. It is far more than saying you are sorry to God; it involves a deep sorrow over how your words and actions have offended your Creator and Savior, harming yours or others’ relationship with Him.

Jealousy or envy in the sense of wanting something that we do not have and that belongs to others is, of course, condemned by Scripture (e.g., Ex. 20:17 and Gal. 5:20–21). However, to be jealous for something that belongs exclusively to us is a godly form of jealousy, especially when that which belongs to us is being threatened by another. A husband shows godly jealousy when another man makes advances toward his wife (Prov. 6:32–35). The apostle Paul shows godly jealousy when false teachers threaten to lead the church astray (2 Cor. 11:1–6). It is in this sense that God is jealous for his people and for the land he gave them…(Joel 2:18)

This is helpful reminder that jealousy is not always a pejorative term. Proper jealousy is expressed by God for His people and, by extension, we express proper jealousy of others when their conduct offends God or violates His created order. By contrast, jealousy that is condemned is that which stems from a self-serving motive, namely pride and covetousness.

God’s actions in history for the salvation of his people are ultimately so that we may know that he alone is God and that he alone saves humanity. To “know the Lord,” then, is to know that God is the one who made all things out of nothing, to know that God alone stands as sovereign ruler and judge over all people, and to know that God alone can save us from sin, death, darkness, and all of his and our enemies.

What a wonderfully concise explanation of God’s motive throughout history. He does all that we may know and worship Him with every fiber of our being; that by our very lives, we would reflect a knowledge and gratitude for who He is and what He has done.


It was good to go back over the book of Joel and see God’s sovereignty and promise of restoration despite the near term corrective measures through locust plagues and invading armies. God through Joel gave clarity in their understanding of the “day of the Lord” and that Israel would be included in this judgment. However, this was to provoke repentance as there would also be a future day in which God would “pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2:28), an assurance we know as being fulfilled at Pentecost (Acts 2:17).

Such good stuff! I continue to be thankful for having the time and opportunity to dive deep into the prophets like this.