Today’s Reading: Joel 1:1–2:32, Acts 7:1–53, Job 18:1–21
Today’s Theme: God Restores
Today we look at 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, God’s 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 off 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 God’s 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 whilst 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 gives foundation and definition to our faith, this is why it is so important that we know our history as God’s 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 midst 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)
This is also 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 neighbour thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? (Acts 7:27, ESV)
This was the attitude of many in Israel, to Jesus too. Also, this gets to the heart of the problem why many from all nations, do not 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 making 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 first and then coming a second 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 and 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 that 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
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51, ESV)
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 deceivers and are being deceived, like the Proverbs and NT teach. They will be caught in their own traps.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Acts 7