Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 1

Joel’s Prophecy

by

Today's Text: Joel 1:1-14, Isaiah 17:10-11, Acts 2:17-21

Scripture Reading: Joel 1:1-14, Isaiah 17:10-11, Acts 2:17-21

Have you ever done something that was honestly deplorable, something you felt desperate to take back as soon as it was done? Even the memory of it can grind you down and make your fingers ache with regret. Shakespeare calls this “an expense of spirit in a waste of shame.”

The Minor Prophets show us the result of expending our energy to pursue sin: a locust-eaten wasteland of emptiness and shame. Joel’s assessment of sin is bleak: “Indeed, human joy has dried up” (Joel 1:12). It’s a prophecy similar to that of the other prophets. In a nutshell, he’s saying: “you have forgotten the God of your salvation”—repent and return (Isaiah 17:10).

But instead of just handing it to us in a nutshell, God shows us in sobering terms the plagues, wrath, and judgment that come from our sin. It is utterly devastating. When I read these words I know deep in my bones I can’t shoulder the weight of such miserable punishment. I can’t take my sins back.

Igor Stravinksy devastatingly said, “Sins cannot be undone, only forgiven.” He’s right. We can’t unsay and undo the shameful things we’ve done. But the minor prophets give us real hope. The judgment for our sins is massive, but that is precisely the judgment Jesus paid on our behalf.

God the Father levies judgment against us because of our sin, and then takes that punishment on His own shoulders in the person of Christ. The tsunami of judgment that reared up and threatened to obliterate us splashes harmlessly back into the ocean because of Christ Jesus.

When we read prophecy, it’s important to ask ourselves, What did it mean to them then? and What does it mean for us now? Joel was preaching a specific message to Israel in the midst of a locust crisis, and he is also preaching to us in the midst of our own crises, today. But in this case, his message is really the same: repent and return to your first love.

Then and now, God is in a relationship with His people, censuring our sins with judgment, calling us to repentance, and extending His forgiveness. He is actively doing it all, all the time. We can respond by crying out to Him with deep thankfulness.

Lord, we cry out to you. Forgive us, and teach us to forgive.

SRT-MinorProphets-Instagram1

  • Joey Vadala

    Great!

  • Tamara Murga

    Interesting observation, Rachel. I think it could be both really. Things happen, whether good or bad, for our learnings. I think it’s up to us to see it as a punishment or as something allowed, as you mentioned. But at the end of the day, it’s for us to learn from it.

  • Carrie Rogers

    Thank you Lord!!!

  • Love love love this post and what the Lord has done in His love for me and all of Gods children. What a beautiful, merciful, loving Savior He is!!!

  • Love this. The only thing I would change: “The tsunami of judgment that reared up and threatened to obliterate us splashes harmlessly back into the ocean because of Christ Jesus.” I think it would be better stated that the tsunami fell upon Christ- that He stepped in front of us and took the crushing blow- rather than it splashing harmlessly back into the ocean. Such a powerful image of His sacrifice for us that He got in the path of the tsunami and was crushed by that wave so that we didn’t have to be.

  • Crazy to read this as the Northern California fires rage through wine country.

    • Rachel

      I was thinking the same thing!!! I’m tempted to read Joel explaining the locusts coming as a result of their sins….and then I think of the fires and wonder if those things come because of our sin. But that seems so opposite of what we are taught in the Church today. I wonder if in Joel’s time (pre-Jesus), punishment came through natural disasters and in our time (because of Jesus), natural disasters come not as a punishment…they are just allowed… and because of Jesus, there can be renewal and redemption found in it. Sigh…it’s confusing, I know. I grapple with thoughts like these often.

      • Casey

        I have often wondered the same thing of all the natural disasters and wondered if God allows them so that Jesus can be found in the healing. I don’t know, maybe that’s me trying to make sense of the abundance of natural-caused pain and suffering so many have been facing.

  • “Awake, you drunkards, and weep…” I was stricken by this verse because it reminded me how easy it is to wander away from the Lord in the search of easy comfort or “simple” joys (temporary highs). We fall asleep spiritually in the midst of the pleasure we have surrounded ourselves by, and we wake up to find that we are far removed from God by small choice after small choice. I feel that ache inside myself. I “woke up” and found myself in this destitution last week, and left my job as a result. I was dying internally and externally because of the stresses of the position and the 100 hours a week that it required. It wasn’t the safe or “responsible” choice in many ways, but I am excited to seek after the Lord in this season and to move into the Acts 2 portion of this story. Let me be awake to You, Jesus! (And let me find a better job!)

    • Rachel Wadlow

      What courage you have! God will surely provide as you lean into Him.

  • “Sins cannot be undone, only forgiven.”

  • ❤️

  • Tanya Pacheco

    My first study with SRT. I can’t tell you how perfect God timed this in my life. Especially since for the past months I’ve been sensing a pull to turn back to my first love. Than BAM! That’s what day 1 of this study is all about! Oh my word the tears! So grateful for a God who so gently leads me to where He is!!!

    • Hannah Wood

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. I just started a job as an ICU nurse working nights so my schedule has been so off as I adjust. Even as I continue to attend church with my husband and meet for our weekly small group I kept feeling a tug and I knew I was becoming lazy with my lack of quiet time and attention on God. While I am aware of my desire for God to work through me in my job and have been given some wonderful opportunities to glorify Him, I was becoming too laid back, getting caught up in my peer relationships, the excitement of fitting into this unit, but not ultimately giving Him the praise, not nearly enough. My husband quietly nudges me to maintain quiet times and when he saw that I hadn’t been doing that he finally whispered to me the other day, “I’m responsible for you my wife.” And I knew exactly what he meant. Normally he prays at bedtime but I did last night, kneeling beside him as he lay there, feeling God tell me that he wants me to be comforted in him and not in this world. What a feeling it is to be pursued by God. And He’s never far away, he never forgets us, even when we tend to forget. -Just wanted to share

  • I’m just starting this study several days late, but hopefully I can catch up. You know how God has a way of drilling home a message, in lots of different ways, until we start to pay attention? I believe that is what He is doing in my life concerning returning to a place of intimacy with Him. I am in my mid fifties and have not really made peace with this season in my life, finding myself frequently anxious, uncertain, wondering what my purpose really is, using food to numb all these uncomfortable feelings, etc. And just this week through several different messages I feel like He is saying,” Well, duh, you’re gonna feel this way if you try to go it alone. Come on back and draw close to me, and I will lead the way!” I had heard about this Bible study a few months ago but hadn’t checked it out until now.

    • Leslie

      Your comment so resonated with me. I am in the same season of life and experiencing the exact same things. It’s almost like I can’t believe I’m here already…time is fleeting. That also leads to regrets of what I wish I would have done and things I want to do over but I know I can’t. Logically I know these things but I need my heart to match my head…if that makes sense. Praying for you (and myself) to consistently turn to our first love and lean on Him in this time because He is GOOD and has a plan for us in this new season of life. There is JOY in the morning!

  • Just starting the study today! I am a new mom of a 3 month old and this morning I spent writing him letters to open later in life- a little time capsule kinda. I wrote a long one about Jesus and his love, so reading Joel 1:3 was such a neat moment. These Israelites told their children of the destruction of their crops by the locusts God sent. We get to tell our children (and friends and family and even maybe randomers) of the destruction of sin by Jesus who God sent! Not quite the main point of all this but was an encouragement to me!

  • And if I just purchased this will I still be able to read this once the study is over?

    • Ashlyn

      Hi Shelly, I’m only starting this today too so no need to worry the plans stay available on your app for as long as you have the app. You can follow along at your own pace (as I am doing as I
      Iive in Australia and the time difference means the next day comes out at like 8pm) glad yours joining the study. I hope you enjoy it. God bless!!

  • If I’m starting this late how do I read the past days?

  • Amber Lester

    Hi ladies!! I am delighted to be here and can’t wait to make new friends and sisters in Christ. Blessings to all

  • Tracey,
    Guilt of sin can be so very heavy. I pray that God shows you His glory and wraps you in His arms. You are the princess and daughter of a King.

  • I’m very excited to be starting this study. I’m a day late but already enjoying what I’m learning about the prophets and how to apply to my life in today.

  • Courtney Stoops

    I needed this today! X

  • I am new here and I have a question about day 1 scripture choices.
    What is the connection between Joel chapter 1 and Acts 2:17-21?

  • Encouraging study, specially at this horrendous time.

  • Lisa CEBC

    We lost a good friend in a tragic accident over the weekend so today’s study is sort of timely to me when the passage talks about a wake up call the profits were delivering…. he was a believer so we have peace in that but it’s still a great reminder of how fragile life is and how we should embrace Christ and the forgiveness he offers and lead lives glorifying to him…

    • Stacie

      Lisa,
      So sorry for your loss. May God bring peace and comfort to you and all who loved him too.

  • What really stuck out to me today from Joel 1:1-14 was the overwhelming amount of action verbs and commands that Joel uses: Hear, listen, tell, wake up, weep, wail, grieve, dress, lament, come and spend the night in sackcloth, announce, proclaim, gather, and cry out.

    Repentance is more than just a change of heart or attitude–it requires real and intentional action. I can’t tell you how many times my own “repentance” stops short of the action phase because I find it too uncomfortable or difficult to walk through. I would much rather say “I’m sorry” and then move on rather than have to do the hard work of grieving my sin and changing my behavior.

    I am praying that through this study the Lord will teach me how to truly repent while still resting safe and secure in His grace!

    • Allison

      This really hit home. Thank you for sharing. I also struggle with following through with the action phase. I feel a lot of guilt when I find that I am repeating the same sin over again and simply asking for forgiveness instead of intentionally changing my behavior to avoid repeating it. I pray for intentionality in my behavior.

    • Corina Cast

      Betsy! The Lord used your words for me. Thank you for sharing your perspective that I so needed to see. For many years there has been a disconnect in my relationship with Him. Lately, the Lord has been pursuing me and daring me to respond. I think repentance is where I need to begin.

      • Kayla M

        Besty, love your comment about the verbs and requiring action. I pray the same thing. May the Lord continue to use this study to open our eyes and hearts.

  • Jesus,

    Thank you for making aware of my sin and my faults against you. Lord please help me have a heart that is focused on you and not distracted about this world. Lord please forgive me for my sins, my rebellion and even my thoughts that have taken me away from you, every idol word spoken, even for my lukewarm heart. Lord give me a heart of flesh, and restore to me my desire for you beyond the things of this world.

  • Strawberry

    “Sins cannot be undone, only forgiven.” Hallelujah!

  • I think what struck me (and has many times lately) is that we often forget who these admonitions are for. The prophets are not calling the lost of the world to change their ways; these messages are for God’s people. It is OUR sin that brings His punishment; it is OUR sin that grieves our Father. It is all to easy to say that “the world” has forsaken God, but it isn’t true — you cannot forsake what you’ve never had in your life. It is God’s people who can and often have forsaken that relationship, and it is His people who must be humbled to accept His forgiveness.

    • Held By Him

      Heavy isn’t it!

    • Jordan

      I LOVE this point of view. I would also add that because it is a message to us as followers, and a call for us to repent, receiving his forgiveness and grace, this can call US to also change in a way that we can shine the light of Jesus and his mercy in the darkness of this sinful and plagued world.

  • I am pretty new to SRT but love it so far! After reading today’s devotion Jonah 4:2 comes to my mind, “You are a gracious and compassionate God.”

  • The image of the plague of locusts really hit me hard because I have seen a locust plague in Australia. Not only did they eat all the crops but they ate the green paint on a house and afterwards, everything was bare. This passage made me think about how much God gives that I take for granted. When I thought of the emptiness in the images, it made me think of what separation from God really means, and that was humbling because I do not deserve his grave, yet he freely gives it.

    • Monica

      Frances,
      Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • Karen From Virginia

      Wow! Can’t forget green paint. That’s real devastation.

    • Elisabeth C

      Frances, thank you for sharing this. It helped make the image of the locusts make sense to me. I’m reminded of pictures my family members in Puerto Rico have been able to send recently—before and after pictures of their property and neighborhood. The difference is shocking. I held those images in my mind as I read what you wrote about “what separation from God really means.” As I read the verses in Joel on my own, the image of the locusts didn’t really do anything for me. But after reading your comment, I can think of the luscious landscape of PR and realize, “This is the beauty and richness that life with God offers; this is what He meant for us to experience.” And then I envision the devastation from the hurricane and realize, “This is what happens to all God has available for me when I forsake Him, embrace sin, and choose to live apart from His grace. There is only bleak barrenness where sin reigns.” How comforting, though, that because of Christ’s redemption, the fruitful land that represents our relationship with God can be restored!

  • I am new to She Reads Truth, as well. I am hopeful this study will deliver me from guilt. I know I am forgiven and I celebrate grace. Perhaps it is part of the mourning of sin, but it is still heavy.

    • Morgan

      You are so loved, Tracey, and completely forgiven! I hope through this study, and other things in your life, you will be able to see just how much God loves you! You are worthy.

    • Karen From Virginia

      I pray God brings truth deeply in your being. I grew up on guilt, I understand. Learning to look more to Jesus’ finished work than your sin or shortcomings is key. Trusting Jesus is enough. But it’s a fight to believe and let go of guilt.

    • April L.

      Tracey,
      Guilt of sin can be so very heavy. I pray that God shows you His glory and wraps you in His arms. You are the princess and daughter of a King.

  • Christy Troia

    Hi ladies! I am brand new to She Reads Truth and I am so grateful to have found such an incredible group of women after God’s own heart (thanks to The Real Life RD, Robyn’s post!) These verses are extremely serious and God is continuously kind and gentle and wants to forgive us. Thank you so much for all of your words of wisdom and insight, every single one of you! God bless you all!

    • She Reads Truth

      Welcome Christy! We are so glad to have you joining us as part of the SRT community. If you ever have questions let us know anytime. :) – Abby, The SRT Team

    • Monica

      Welcome Christy! I am pretty new to SRT but love it so far. May God bless you!

    • Karen From Virginia

      Welcome Christy! God is working among these SRT ladies.

  • Stephanie

    There have many deplorable situations in my life. The sin does become too heavy and I feel that I have to repent, sometimes even to lament where if I were in the time of Esther I would cry and throw the dirt on my shoulders in repentance. Thank God for Jesus. Thank you God for Jesus.

  • Joel wants his people to see the weight and the consequences of their sin. Sometimes we almost rush to grace and ignore the seriousness of sin. Though grace is absolutely pivotal to our relationship with God and our identity as His people, grace was NEEDED because of something. I’m thankful to Joel for the reminder that we do not need to jump straight to the celebrating. We must take time to fast, to mourn, and to cry out to God over the weight of our sin. That makes us thankful for grace all the more.

    • Megan

      I am on the same page with you, Beth Ann.

      The last verse of this reading also stands out to me because Joel has this invitation for the people to call out to one another, to notice the weight of the sin together. For me this feels like a breath of fresh air in the midst of the hard reading- it is like this little reminder from God that even in the face of our bad terrible stuff that there is a community around us to whom we can call/can relate/we are not alone when the crying out of sins feels too heavy to carry alone.

    • Emily B.

      So true! Thanks for that reminder.

  • Lord, we need You. Help this broken world. Help this broken heart. Help us shine your light to those around us. Help us rest in the shadow of your wings. You are our firm foundation, you will never stop loving us. Let us burn with passion and yearning, for You and Only You.

  • Considering what happens in Las Vegas last night, the desperate images of a sinful fallen world are especially poignant

  • Jessica cebc

    I just need to repent and allow God to forgive me. I can’t undo the sin but I can stop doing it!! Praise God for His unfailing love for me!!

  • Karen CEBC

    Igor Stravinksy devastatingly said, “Sins cannot be undone, only forgiven.” He’s right. We can’t unsay and undo the shameful things we’ve done. But the minor prophets give us real hope. The judgment for our sins is massive, but that is precisely the judgment Jesus paid on our behalf.

    Thank you Jesus for your forgiveness!

  • Thankful for this SRT community. Praying I learn from these minor prophets…. Also praying for the brutal tragedy in Las Vegas. Jesus be near as we hold those we do not know before your throne of mercy and grace.

  • How many of those who died last night in this tragedy didn’t know the Lord? Our jobs today and everyday is to share the Gospel– to share the prophecies– so that even in the midst of evil our souls will be safe!! Yes God, send our nation your peace along with your word for repentance.

  • It was hard not to read this today with the sadness of the events that happened in Vegas weighing heavy on my heart. Today I cry out to the Lord in hopes the families and all those affected can find comfort in prayer.

  • A week ago on day 19 of the Sermon of the Mount bible study I had asked for prayers because I was going in for a mammogram and ultra sound. I prayed for accurate results for a clean bill of health. They did see 2 groups of calcifications on my left breast. I am told it is still very low risk, however, today I ask for more prayers as I am going in for a core needle biopsy. I pray that the procedure goes well. I pray over the staff that will be there to receive me and attend to my out patient surgery. I pray for accurate and complete negative/benign results! I pray for quick recovery from procedure. I am told that other than not lifting heavy things for 48 hours all will be well. My family lives out of state so I will be driving myself. It will be a long day so I pray to feel Jesus’ loving arms around me all day and to feel his love throughout all of this. It will take 3-4 days for results so I will do my best to rest in His Promises. This bible study might be a little heavy for me right now. But I want to follow along with you gals :) Really needing moral support!

    Meredith Lea ~ I responded to your response on day 24 Ask, Seek, Knock :) I am still praying for you! I pray we will both rejoicing soon! Blessings to you <3

    • Jeanna

      Praying for you Julie… please keep us posted.

    • Christina D.

      Praying for you today Julie. Praying that above everything else you will feel God’s presence with you as your constant companion. Praying for the most compassionate nurses and doctors. Praying His sweet spirit will pour so much peace on you during this time that everything feels easy. God surely has you in the shadow of His wing!

    • Courtney S.

      Praying for you, Julie.

    • Emily

      Julie and Meredith, I was reading back through the comments this morning looking for an update on both of you! I will be praying for you today, Julie, for God’s comfort and peace to wrap you tight like a blanket, and that you will feel His love envelope you and draw you near. I pray for good results and a quick healing and strength for your body. Still praying for you as well, Meredith! Let us know how you are doing!♥️

    • Jenny

      Prayers for you, Julie!!! Stay strong and faithful and all will be ok!!

    • Cathy

      Praying over you that God will hold you in his mighty arms and protect you during and after your procedure. Praying for positive outcome.

    • Bobbie

      Julie, I read this late but I will be remembering you in my prayers. I have walked this road…more than once. I am glad your physicians saw fit to follow up w biopsies instead of watchful waiting. Be well, be comforted and be at peace in the strong name of Jehovah Raphe, the God who heals.

  • churchmouse

    Oh friends, the massacre in Las Vegas. My heart is breaking again. Let us pray…

    • Allie Smith

      Yes. Believers, don’t get sucked into politics today. Pray. Intercede for those who are fighting for their lives. Beg God for comfort for the families who lost loved ones. Grieve wi those who grieve.

    • Julie

      Yes, I too pray for those impacted by the tragic events in Las Vegas. I pray for God’s grace and peace to those grieving and that His love would comfort them in this time of great loss.

    • Courtney S.

      It is devastating. Praying for all.

    • Karen From Virginia

      Yes. Lord have mercy.

  • God is holy and just. He judges us as individuals and He judges nations. I am thankful for the precious blood of Christ which has fully satisfied for all my sins. It seems our world is in a similar place today as in the day of the prophets. We know better than to think and behave the way we do but we think it won’t matter. It always matters.

    I would like to share a blessing with all of you. Decades ago, when I was in junior high, I joined in with a crowd and was mean to someone. It has bothered me right from the start. I could not remember the persons last name and could not shake the need to apologize. Yesterday I was praying and the name came to me. I have found the person and sent an apology . I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity. I am praying it will work for a blessing to this person.

  • Has such a thing as this occurred in your days or even in the days of your fathers? (Vs. 2). Have we left the God we know by giving into sin over and over again? Have we allowed our sins to steal our joy and our hope? Have we stopped bearing fruit? Are we crying out to the Lord to rescue us from this situation?
    The situation is bleak. As individuals, as families, as generations, we have let sin take over. The meaning of the events of this passage seem all too familiar in our world. So thankful that there is another Way. We can return to God. We can repent. We can know hope and life. Let us claim that for ourselves and our generation.

  • This devotion has reminded me of the depth of ugliness and darkness that sin causes. I tend to trivialize it and think that it isn’t that bad. No, it is devastating, unimaginably dark and painful. Isaiah 53:6 came to mind. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. It feels as though we are a lost people and each turning to our own way. This is a sobering message to start the day and week, but an important one as well. May God be with us and give us courage for the living of this day.

  • Did it hit you when she gave the picture of a tsunami? That is what we deserve, but because Jesus took all of that for us, it goes back into the ocean. Can we even fathom what He endured? I imagine Him seeing, feeling every horrible sin ever committed by anyone and the hurt, shame, guilt, and maybe even disgust that goes with it. I don’t know what He really went through, but I heard someone asked why He would do that. The response was love!

  • churchmouse

    Vs. 12 – “…Indeed, human joy has dried up.” That is one sad verse. All hope seems gone. All efforts wasted. The future, like the present, grim. That is the gravity and the consequence of sin. It is the domain of the unrepentant heart. It is the result of stubborn self righteousness. It is sad. It is ugly. BUT GOD. Cry out! Repent and return and He pours His Spirit down in full measure. As the Spirit fills, joy takes root and sprouts. What once was dried up, now lives again. Healthy. Strong. Hopeful. Hope-filled . Alive through Christ. Alive in Christ. Praise God for His mercy and love!

    • Gina Glennon

      Oh, how I agree with you…that verse “…Indeed , human joy has dried up.”. That too really struck me hard. But I was reminded of that God, who is the Giver of all good things, never stops being God, my God. How often I look to the things He has given as my joy, instead of keeping my focus, my heart upon the One who has given me all–His all and my salvation. Oh, praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

  • Karen From Virginia

    Thank you SRT for taking on Scripture that takes on judgement and sin. Redemption is deeper and more beautiful when one realizes the depth of sin and judgement deserved yet given to Another-Jesus. I never want this story to get old.
    Lord, draw me close. I want to know you. To know this Redemption deeply , to walk in the joy and freedom of being yours. Holy unto you.
    Grief has been rough this weekend. I need to sleep and the Lords comfort.

    • Yes, you are so right! So often we jump right past the sin and judgment and immediately look at Jesus’ death and resurrection. We need to have moments though of remembering our sin and then repenting, which then reminds us even more greatly of Jesus’ beautiful and powerful sacrifice.

    • Emily B.

      “I never want this story to get old—” Amen!

  • A second interview for me today, sisters, and a realization that turning to God in an hour of ‘crisis’ however small or large is so much easier than turning to God in the joyful carefree times. Selfishness and self-absorption can so easily get in the way. I’m praying that he can change me and bring me closer to him at all times. Whatever the outcome, today or any other day. After all, the price he paid for our selfishness and sin is there to be claimed constantly and eternally. Lord, help me to serve you today from a place of humility, peace and confidence in what you have done for me. Amen. (amazing how typing my thoughts helps make them more concrete – anyone else experience the same thing?)

    • Karen From Virginia

      God is with you. He is enough. He will guide.

    • churchmouse

      Praying that you find favor with the interviewer, that it would be made clear if this is God’s place for you. May you have a strong sense of His presence, manifested in peace and clarity of thought as you go through the interview.

      • Ruth

        I have been offered a job! Now the dreaded salary negotiations….but God is in this, I am really sure. Thank you for taking time to respond. ❤️

    • Beth

      Praying for you, Ruth! Let us know how it goes! I do find sometimes when I begin typing that I’m surprised what comes out. A good reminder of how important it is to journal!

      • Ruth

        I have been offered a job! Now the dreaded salary negotiations….but God is in this, I am really sure. Thank you for taking time to respond. ❤️

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