The Day of the Lord – in the Future

Topic: “The Day of the Lord – in the Future”

Service: 8-9.30am and 10-11.45am

Scripture : Joel 2:18—3:21

Speaker: Elder Melville Szto

“The day of the Lord is any day the Lord steps into history to do a special work, whether judgment or deliverance.”
(David Prior) The plague of locusts in Joel’s day was one such day in history, but that was only a precursor to a future, more awful day of the Lord. The second part of Joel looks at this future day.

I. God’s Response to a people’s genuine repentance – Joel 2:19-27

The people have responded to the prophet’s call and shown genuine repentance. They have called out to God for deliverance (2:15-17) and the Lord answers. The basis for God’s response – God’s jealousy for the land and his pity for his people – 2:18 (see v. 17)

God’s reply is in three parts – there is a short-term, a mid-term and a long-term unveiling of his plans, not just for Israel but for the world.

The short-term answer: God’s provision for his people’s immediate needs of “grain, wine, oil” (2:18), his removal of the locust hordes (2:20) and his great promise of restoration of their loss, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” (2:25)

Question: Does God always answer when we call out to him in time of calamity? Can you recall how God answered you in a time of personal calamity?

II. The Outpouring of the Spirit – Joel 2:28-32

This is the mid-term aspect of the prophecy given Joel and it was fulfilled with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Peter, in fact quotes this very prophecy – Acts 2:17-20

Question: Why did God pour out his Holy Spirit? Was this gift only for Israel? What does the coming of the Holy Spirit mean to you personally?

III. The End of the World – Final Judgment and Final Deliverance – Joel 3:1-21

Here is the long-term, final outcome, “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (2:31). Notice that it follows from the prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit although it is an event that is still in the future. This tells us that we are living in the end times, the period between the first and second comings of Christ.

On that dreadful day, there will be “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision” (3:14). The “decision” is not their decision about God, but God’s decision about them (God’s “decree” or “verdict”). The Day of the Lord is the day when God sits in judgment on the nations (3:12). On that day, however, God’s own people will be delivered (3:16), and will dwell forever with him in the new Zion.

Question: What kind of people must we be as we prepare for this approaching day of the Lord? See 2 Pet. 3:10-13.