March 26, 2017 Sunday School Commentary
Lesson Guide, Direction
Topic of Lesson: God’s Love Restores
Devotional Reading: 2 Peter 3:1-10
Background Scripture: Joel 2
Print Passage: Joel 2:12, 13, 18, 19, 28-32
Key Verse: Rend your hearts and not your garments and return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and He revokes His sentence of evil. -Joel 2:13
One of my favorite gospel songs is an older song that was written, possibly in the 80s that describes how there is no greater love than the sacrificial love of Christ and what He did on the cross for us. It goes on to describe the walk to Calvary and the price that He paid by giving up His life, but ultimately, He overcame the World. That same sacrificial love that Christ had then, is still available to us today if we trust and obey. In today’s lesson, the prophet Joel sets the tone by telling the people that God is not a respecter of person. The same God that worked miracles for their ancestors was the same God that wanted to bless them. He wanted them to straighten up, live for Him and He would return all that was lost to them in bondage. As you reflect on God’s “love letter” to His people through Joel, what have you lost that you are believing God to restore in your own life? Trust and believe that He is a restorer and He is a God of all things new.
Genuine Repentance | Joel 2:12-13
In previous verses, Joel pleads with his people to return to God. He reminds them of everything that God blessed them with in which they’d lost because of their sin and hardened hearts. In v. 12, Joel tells the people of Judah to keep seeking God, keep fasting, keep praying and searching for Him with all their hearts until everything that held them in bondage and hindered their walk with God was removed from them. When we earnestly seek Him with everything within us, God will be found. He is not far from our presence, but it takes a willing heart to be used by the Lord.
Joel tells them to rend their hearts and not their garments (v.13). It was a normal practice for people to show an outward expression of grief, pain, and anger by tearing their clothing, wearing a sack cloth, or pouring ashes over their heads to express their anguish. What you saw oftentimes, was that people would perform the outward acts, but their hearts were still in the wrong place. God was calling them beyond their outer wear because how you look on the outside does not necessarily express how you feel on the inside. A true form of repentance in an inward change that will result in a long-term transformation in the way you act and treat others.
Compassionate God | Joel 2:18, 19
God expressed true concern for His children. The scripture says that He was jealous for His land, meaning zealous or passionate for His people. As a caring and compassionate Father would do, God promised to send them blessings to satisfy them and remove the disgrace and shame that had been placed on the nation as a result of their sins.
Holy Spirit Power | Joel 2:28-32
In the text, Joel prophesies about a time to come. He talks about a time where, regardless of your age, sex, size, or race, the Holy Spirit would be available to all of God’s children. He will pour out His spirit on everyone; our descendants will prophesy and men, both old and young will dream dreams and see visions; those that others look at as servants would receive the Holy Spirit. God’s spirit is not restricted by class or status, but is available to all who receive Him.
Joel also prophesies what many describes as apocalyptic, meaning that He describes what is to come on the last days. If we fast forward, Peter talks about this being fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21).
He will show signs and wonders in heavens and blood and fire on earth; the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the day is to come and at that time, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered and saved. Salvation is the promise that when this world is over, there will be those that escape the world that we know and join the Lord is paradise. That is the goal and promise to us, as Christians. God’s promise stood in Joel’s day and is still very much alive today for believers!
God’s love is never ending. Whatever you’ve lost, there is restoration and newness through Christ. Trust Him, obey Him, and believe Him.
Commentary by, LaTonika Blackmon
Spirit Realm Divine Manifestation Ministries