Joel 1&2, Psalm 99
Joel, out of the prophets, is very difficult to date accurately, for he doesn’t obviously refer to particular events. However, many see negative references to Edom as evidence that this work was written some time in the mid-500’s B.C. reflecting the Edomite mistreatment to Judeans during the Babylonian captivity. In today’s reading, Joel refers to God’s judgement over Israel. This is not a novel topic in our recent readings. However, note how when Joel speaks of the day of the Lord, which often has connotations of negative judgement, there is a promise of God performing gracious miraculous deeds, mostly due the Spirit being poured out on people, leading to prophecies and dreams. Of course Peter, hundreds of years later in Acts 2, saw the day of Pentecost as fulfilling this prophecy from Joel. The evidence that Peter is correct is shown when Peter preached that same day and 3000 people came to faith in Jesus, thus fulfilling the promise that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Joel 2:32). Let’s recognize that in Joel the promise of God’s dramatic work is closely associated with the day of the Lord, and also note the reality that Pentecost was impossible apart from the crucifixion and resurrection. This is significant, for that world changing two-part event prior to Pentecost is a signpost of the final day of the Lord, as it shows us what God values most on the final day of Judgement. This event also shows us out how anyone can have hope in the final day of the Lord. God values the name of Jesus, and anyone who calls on that name, the name of Jesus, will be saved.