The sermon recording from January 24, 2016.
Archive for January, 2016
The sermon recording from January 17, 2016.
The sermon recording from January 10, 2016.
In the final verses of his written prophesy, Joel continues to announce Yahweh’s promises of redemption for the people of Israel. 3:17 is an important reminder of God’s desire to be known by his people. The glory of the Lord and knowledge of the Lord are the ultimate goal of his redemptive work. Even going back to Moses’ interaction with Pharaoh, we read, “The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them” (Exodus 7:5, ESV), a refrain that is repeated throughout the Exodus narrative. Here, in Joel, the people are told, because of the redemption that Yahweh will work, “So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain” (Joel 3:17, ESV). The sum of the Israel’s problem, and of ours is that we have forgotten God. We have forgotten who God is, and we have forgotten who is God.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things (Romans 1:18-23, ESV).
Our unholiness flows from our lack of knowledge of God which, as we see in Romans 1, is a willful lack of knowledge.
With the restoration of the people’s knowledge of God will come the restoration of the blessings of God. Again, Joel announces the restoration of all that was lost in the first chapter, but that is not all that he announces. There is an eschatological force in the announcement of a fountain coming forth from the house of the Lord. In his prophecy of restoration, Ezekiel sees a similar vision of water flowing from the temple of the Lord. As Ezekiel’s river flows from the temple it grows in size and effect until he announces, “so everything will live where the river goes” (Ezekiel 47:9, ESV). Likewise, the apostle John sees this river vision in the New Jerusalem writing,
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:1-2, ESV).
Joel is announcing the coming of the eschatological kingdom of God.
In the closing verses of Joel we are reminded of the exclusiveness of the kingdom of God. Within the kingdom is restoration. Outside of the kingdom is desolation. Zion, the place of the Lords dwelling, will be a place of peace for all generations, thus the author of Hebrews writes of those found in Christ by faith,
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:22-24, ESV).