Today we are going to turn our attention to the second of the Minor Prophets, the prophet Joel. We don’t know hardly anything about Joel other than the fact that his dad’s name was Pethuel and that he was called to speak to the people of Judah. Just as we saw in our study of Hosea, personal history and background information concerning the life of the prophet are never the focus—it is the message of the prophet that is paramount. The prophet opens his mouth and speaks because God wants the people to hear from Him.
There are differences of opinion as to when God raised Joel up to speak to the people of Judah. Some believe that Joel was a contemporary of Hosea and Amos. This is why Joel is placed between these two prophets in our Bible. Others believe that Joel prophesied later, after the fall of the Southern Kingdom. The timeframe of when Joel’s prophesy was delivered is not nearly as important as are the events that brought about Joel’s prophesy and the message that God had for His people following the devastation—prepare for the Day of the Lord.
There is no question about what had happened in Judah—the land had been devastated and the devastation had affected everyone living in Judah. Let’s take a look at the opening verses of Joel and then we will dig in and see what we can learn. Read along with me from Joel 1:1-7.
1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel son of Pethuel. 2 Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? 3 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. 4 What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten. 5 Wake up, you drunkards, and weep! Wail, all you drinkers of wine; wail because of the new wine, for it has been snatched from your lips. 6 A nation has invaded my land, powerful and without number; it has the teeth of a lion, the fangs of a lioness. 7 It has laid waste my vines and ruined my fig trees. It has stripped off their bark and thrown it away, leaving their branches white. (Joel 1:1-7 NIV)