God’s Agenda

In our study today we will start to look at prophesy and how it relates to the times and events in our chronological reading of the Bible and how prophesy relates to us today.

Joel begins his prophesy with an invasion of locusts and describes the devastation of the land that resulted. A plague like this would bring harm and fear to any nation dependent on agriculture for food and prosperity. Both Israel and Judah would be able to relate but this story is not really about the invasion of insects. It is about the invasion of the enemy nations.

During the reign of Amaziah, king of Judah, there was a threat of war with Edom. Amaziah strengthened his army and hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel to fight the Edomite’s. God sent a prophet to Amaziah telling him to not rely on the 100,000 men he had hired because God was not with them. Instead, he was to trust God and send the soldiers back, which he did. He then went to war with Edom.  God gave him victory over the Edomite’s. However, the 100,000 soldiers of Israel raided several cities in Judah on their way back home. This would be like the first invasion of locusts.

Amaziah is not happy about the raids so he goes to war with Israel but is defeated. The wall of Jerusalem is destroyed, the temple and the palace are plundered, and the king is captured. This would be like the second invasion of locusts.

As a result of this defeat, the nation is faced with higher taxes to pay for the war they didn’t win and now they will have to pay tribute to Israel as well. This would be like the third invasion of locusts. Both nations had to deal with locust plagues and would understand the destruction they could do. Joel is using the locust as an illustration to give the people understanding that the invading nations are like a plague and they need to pay attention to what he is about to say. So do we.

In our last study, Hidden Agendas, we saw that the devil will use deception to get people to serve him. He will promise fame, power, wealth, and more, but he is hiding his real agenda which is to be ruler of this world.

God is, and will always be, the ruler of this world and the universe. He also has an agenda, but, unlike the Devil, God is making every effort to make His agenda known. He is using Joel to tell us that there will be a day when our Lord Jesus will return to earth with His bride, the Church, and He will be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Salvation, glory, and power belongs to Him.

On that day this world will be dramatically changed. The Devil will be bound and no longer will he be able to deceive. No longer will there be invasions of locusts or enemy nations. There will be 1000 years of peace as our Lord, Savior, and King, rules. Joel calls that day when the world is changed, The Day of the Lord.

There are several events that must take place before the actual “Day” comes. Jesus told us to pray for the kingdom to come. After Jesus was resurrected the disciples asked if the kingdom was about to come. Jesus said the day and the hour are to remain unknown but we need to be about building the kingdom. The message John the Baptist preached and the message Jesus preached was, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Matthew 3:2, 4:17 NASB  

When Jesus sent out the disciples in Matthew 10 they were to declare the same message.

Jesus said in Luke 17:21b, “For Behold the kingdom of God is in your midst.”  But there is a footnote. In your midst could be translated within you. Which is right? I believe both are. Jesus the King was certainly with them. But, He is also within the hearts of His people.

The beginning of the last days that lead to the “Day of the Lord,” starts with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 as Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32. Jesus promised that when He returned to the Father in Heaven He would send the Holy Spirit who will be with us, and dwell in our heart. He will transform our heart to the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Joel Chapter 2 begins with a warning that the day of the Lord is coming and it will be dreadful.  Much more dreadful than the locust invasion or any army invasion that has already taken place in Israel’s history.   Joel calls for the nation to rend their heart and turn to God with all their heart.  If they will do this God will protect and provide for them.  The ultimate fulfillment of this prophesy will take place in the Great Tribulation, but, there are often near fulfilments so that the nation might know God keeps his promises. Such is the case with Assyria when Hezekiah was king of Judah. Though Assyria will surround Jerusalem, and there is little hope, God will indeed miraculously drive Assyria away to demonstrate what He says He will do.

In Chapter 3 we will read of the judgment of the nations that follow the lead of the antichrist and the devil. For the people of God there are blessings in store.

As for the Church, we need to be reminded often of our future and not allow ourselves to be deceived thinking the Lord is slow or not coming. The Devil has an evil agenda and he is working hard to stumble God’s people to make them fall. Don’t take the bait on his trap.

God has an agenda that is clearly laid out in scripture over and over. So keep reading. Keep the faith. The Kingdom of God is at hand!

Pastor Dave