“The Word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel.”
This book of the prophet Joel is the Word of the Lord to us in our day, and in all days of history. Because it is the Word of God we need to pay careful heed to it, to meditate and learn what it says and put its teaching into the practice of our life. The Word of God never changes in any generation and this word is as cogent to us now as it was to the people all those millennia ago. The circumstances might change but the principles and direction of the Lord does not.
Joel is chosen to relay this message to us, as a set-apart and devoted servant of the Lord. The prophets suffered much as a result of their message, for it was not popular and they and their message were rejected by their own people. The words of Joel are authenticated in the New testament by the Apostles Peter and Paul and quoted in Acts chapter two. His words refer to that coming time when the Spirit of God would be poured out and all people would be blessed by the message of the gospel.
Joel is the son of Pethuel. When the Scripture expresses family ties in this way, it is indicating a godly father and family situation. It is thought that Pethuel was the son of the prophet Samuel, but I am unclear about this. If it is so, then the family line is intact by the mercy of God and through the faithful lives of Hannah, Samuel and Pethuel and now, Joel.
God does not necessarily save families. God saves all those who come to Him in repentance and faith and He deals with the individual and has individual relationships with His people. We do not have “Christian families” “Christian countries” and the like. We must all stand as individual beings before the holy God to give account of what we have done in the body. When The prophet Joel calls for repentance it mean that every soul must come to God and seek Him and seek forgiveness, not as a body of amorphous people, but as repentant sinners before God. God sees us all and we must close with Him in a personal way. He seeks those who will repent and believe and will give their will and heart to Him.
“Tear your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord, your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and relents from sending calamity.”
This is not a national symbolic act but the exercise of true contrition to God for our personal sin and seeking forgiveness and a new start. This is the key message from the Lord in the book of Joel. When the people repent and turn, then the healing of the nation can begin. God is full of compassion for us in our weakness and destitution and will heal both us and our land when we repent. Joel is the faithful messenger of this message from God.