Today’s Reading: Joel 1:1–2:32, Acts 7:1–53, Job 18:1–21
Today’s Theme: God Restores
In today we look God as our great restorer and rescuer, seen most clearly through Jesus, the better Joseph and Moses
Fruitfulness brings joy
The vine dries up; the fig tree languishes. Pomegranate, palm, and apple, all the trees of the field are dried up, and gladness dries up from the children of man. (Joel 1:12, ESV)
Fruitfulness brings joy in both the physical and spiritual, if joy is lacking we need to ensure we are growing fruitfully in the Lord
No word leads to no joy
Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God? (Joel 1:16, ESV)
Again no word from God means no Joy.
No word leads to suffering
How the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed because there is no pasture for them; even the flocks of sheep suffer. (Joel 1:18, ESV)
Without the word which brings Joy Gods flock will suffer
Sound the Alarm
Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near, (Joel 2:1, ESV)
Part of the Gospel is to warn of the wrath to come
The LORD utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it? (Joel 2:11, ESV)
This terrible force is Gods army because they are under His control
Tear your heart
and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (Joel 2:13, ESV)
God desires that these warnings draw his people in genuine heartfelt repentance which is more than just an external show
This is a cry to wayward saints (sinners were never with the Lord).
God’s character is clearly outlined here. God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger abounding in steadfast love and wants to turn back concerning disaster for his people (In the same way a parent would prefer to not have to smack a child in love if the child repents).
Our repentance will cause God to turn back from judgement too.
Then the LORD became jealous for his land and had pity on his people. (Joel 2:18, ESV)
God showed his jealous love and zeal for the land while also having pity on His people in response to the prayer of His people
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25, ESV)
I am so grateful that God is a God who restores what he had taken away in judgement.
It is also comforting to know that the Lord can restore years that were eaten away in sin or rebellion
Satisfied in God
“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. (Joel 2:26, ESV)
God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him.
The Promised Holy Spirit
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. (Joel 2:28–29, ESV)
Peter said this was fulfilled in Acts on the day of Pentecost, we give God thanks that we live in these days.
Everyone who calls
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:32, ESV)
Salvation is available and offered to all who will call upon the name of the Lord.
and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ (Acts 7:3, ESV)
History give foundation and definition to our faith, this is why it is so important that we know our history as Gods people
God our Rescuer
“And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. (Acts 7:9–10, ESV)
Joseph was like an OT type of Jesus
God remained sovereign in the midst of Joseph’s trouble, which gives us hope in the middle of ours
Joseph, a type of Jesus
And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. (Acts 7:13, ESV)
Again a nod to Jesus, because at his second coming he will make himself known to His brothers the Jews.
Moses, a type of Jesus
He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. (Acts 7:25, ESV)
Another type of Jesus, the first time he came to Israel they did not understand either
Jesus, the Judge
But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? (Acts 7:27, ESV)
This was the attitude of the many in Israel to Jesus too. Also this gets to the heart of the problem why many from all nations who do no follow Jesus and obey God, it is because at heart they do not want anyone to judge or rule them.
We need to make sure this wicked attitude is not in our hearts, homes or churches
It all points to Jesus
“This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. (Acts 7:35, ESV)
Here Stephen is driving the point of his historical retelling clearer, he is trying to show his accusers that the entire History of the Jewish people was pointing to Christ and how he would come in two parts being rejected and suffering 1st and then coming a 2nd time to rule
Turn your heart to God
Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, (Acts 7:39, ESV)
May we receive an obey Jesus from the heart and not turn back to the world in our hearts, we must guard against this.
And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. (Acts 7:41, ESV)
The calf for Israel today is a Christ-less Judaism, we must continue to reach them with the gospel. We must ensure we do not have replacement gods in our lives.
Look past this world
Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, (Acts 7:48, ESV)
Stephen wants them to get their eyes past the temple and the external observances of tradition and religion
Have circumcised hearts
This is the summation of Stephens’s lesson and appeal.
Lord may we be circumcised in our hearts and help us to not resist your Holy Spirit
The wicked trap
For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walks on its mesh. (Job 18:8, ESV)
This is true of the wicked, they are decivers and being decived like the Proverbs and NT teacha nd will be caught in their own traps