Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
Like other books in the Bible, the literary structure of the Book of Joel is a chiastic pattern. Briefly, a chiasm is an ancient literary device that placed a symmetric pattern into the text. The purpose was to highlight a specific theme. This device is very common, and it is found in the New Testament as well. Patterns revolve around a center point, a point of reflection, and the verses above are the center point, the point of reflection--an appropriate title! (For more information on this literary device, read by David Dorsey.) Anyways, the message of the entire book is RETURN! It is the very message God is shouting to a fallen America as well as the entire world.
The pattern of Joel would be classified and an ABCDABC pattern. Let's look at it:
A. Devastating locust invasion—(1:2-14) (Locusts are a type of demons)
· Four locust species are devouring the land
· There is a destruction of grain—new wine and oil (I am sure you know these types and shadows)
· The trees are withering
· Theme: dried up, empty, withering, destroyed, wailing, mourning
B. Suffering of all creatures due to the invasion—(1:15-20)
· Short unit
· Topic-The coming day of the Lord
· “I will call on you, O LORD
· All creatures, including animals, are suffering due to judgment
C. The LORD is the bringer of the locusts (He has withdrawn His protection) (2:1-11)
· The Day of the LORD is near; destruction of agriculture
· Locusts are warriors and soldiers
· The earth and the heavens shake
· The sun and moon are darkened
· YAWEH thunders at the head of His army (2:10-11)
· Judah becomes a desert waste
D. CENTER: God calls for repentance! The stress is on repenting to bring the blessing (2:12-17)
A. The promises that the devastation will be reversed—(2:18-27)
· Reversal of the devastation of the four species that devoured
· A restoring of the grain, new wine, and oil (Remember—Gospel types!)
· The trees are rejuvenated (Psalm 92:12)
· Theme: rains, watering, renewal, refreshing, filling, rejoicing, gladness
B. In the future all of Judah will experience God’s blessings (2:28-32 & 3:1-5)
· Short unit
· Topic-The coming day of the Lord
· Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved
· All will experience God’s blessings
C. In the future, The Lord will bring armies (remember the locusts of Revelation) to protect Judah and their enemies will be utterly destroyed by Christ
· The Day of the Lord is near
· Warriors and soldiers gather
· The heavens and the earth shake
· The sun and the moon and the stars are darkened
· YAHWEH thunders against the nations
· Edom will become a desert waste
A. So what is your choice America? Will you turn? World, will you seek the GOD of grace who saves to the uttermost or reject His grace only to receive His justice. It is apparent that the locusts are here. Demonic doctrines are taught in every public sphere. Mankind is following the doctrines of devils today just as Paul warned! "What doctrines preacher?" The doctrine that teaches that EvoLIEtion, adultery, abortion (murder), homosexuality, pedophilia, drug addiction, pornography,.....on and on the list goes--that it is OK to believe in or commit such godlessness because GOD is nothing but love and He "understands". These are the doctrines that teach the lie that grace is a license to sin. Do those teaching such not see that they are the subjects of Jude 1:4? For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. The overwhelming grace of God, the awesome love of Christ's cross should call us to strive to forsake sin not accept it. Find the grace that changes you to the core, the very grace that makes you more than a conqueror. Return to God and strive to allow Him to wholly deliver. Deal with your sin daily at the foot of the cross in meekness.
B. Can't anyone discern that the nation is suffering due to this demonic invasion? Our schools are unsafe, our streets are filled with violence and drugs, our entertainment is perverse and godless, our government is ever growing towards totalitarian control, our colleges are filled with wretched philosophies, and our churches are growing colder. Those churches which dare to preach against sin are emptied while "saints" heap to themselves teachers who will preach them happy and not challenge to holiness. Churches that make Christianity another form of entertainment and not a house of prayer are filled to overflowing. Yes! There is an invasion going on!
C. Don't you see that these are the signs that the Day of the LORD is near upon all heathen (Obadiah 1:15)? The world is growing ever godless because it is mirroring the days of Noah and Lot. All that is left without repentance is the fearful look towards cataclysmic judgment that is sure to follow!
D. Return America--Return World! Turn with weeping and fasting and wailing and mourning. Rend your hearts in prayer before a merciful, loving, yet just Savior. "Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?" Take time to reflect on God and His call! Reflect on repentance! Turn!
Will their be a blessing series of ABCs for America? Will there be a second set for you? Only if you turn. There is a day when God turns the tide of sin through Christ, but will you be a part of it. Return! The choice is yours. Return! Do it quickly because Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!
*Dorsey, David A. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academics 2004