February 28, 2011

Minor Prophets XXVI: Restoration

After all the previous passages of judgment in Joel and Hosea we begin to see a break from it in the content in Joel 2:18-27. It is a slight reprieve but a reprieve none the less. We begin to see a time of forgiveness and restoration. This is also a turning point in the argument of the Book of Joel. Joel is looking past the invasion to a time when the Lord would restore His people and restore the blessing to His people. This would be in response to their genuine repentance. The items destroyed by the locust plague would be restored including their dignity. “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations. Just like God will have driven the locusts to drown in the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea so too He would drive out the invading horde. In one night God destroyed 185,000 Assyrian troops and Sennacherib was sent home in sound defeat (Wiersbe 337).

“He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city, declares the LORD. I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’ That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.” 2 Kings 19:32b-36

Judah is told not to be afraid which is to say they are to trust in the Lord for He has done great things. This also includes the animals which would’ve been so badly hammered by a famine after locusts had wiped out vegetation disrupting the food chain-ecosystem. In addition to the damaged ecosystem we see subsequent allusions to “green” pastures, trees “bearing” fruit, fig trees and vines yielding “riches”, etc. There will be no droughts (v.23). Along with no locust plague this would mean abundant grain, wine, oil, etc.

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