This week, kids at Antioch will take a look at the people in the land of Judah and find quite a mess! The land had been invaded by locusts; swarms of the insects had devastated the plants and the food supply. There was also a severe drought in the land of Judah. This meant there was no food and no water in the land of Judah.
These disasters were a wake-up call. Joel told the people of Judah to repent—which means to express sincere regret for sin. He knew that sometimes repentance can be a show to get out of trouble. But that is not what God is interested in. He wants genuine change! He wanted the people of Judah to stop their selfish and evil ways.
Joel then explained why the people should repent— he said, “Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry, and filled with unfailing love.” (Joel 2:13 ”) God’s mercy and love is more powerful than His wrath and anger.
God’s response is beautiful. He said that He would reverse the affects of these disasters—He promised to restore the devastated land, bring it back to life, and make it abundant once more. With a God of mercy, there is always hope!
The book of Joel explores profound ideas. First, Joel shows that sin causes devastating destruction in our world. Then, Joel reminds us that God longs to show mercy. Last, Joel leads us to hope, reminding us that God will one day defeat the evil in the world and also the evil inside of us! His healing presence will make all things new. Joel gives us hope for the restoration of all creation— a new Eden! In the mean time, God’s own spirit will empower his followers so we can truly love and follow Him.
As you review this story with your child, we encourage you to reinforce these truths:
- Joel was a prophet with a message from God.
- The people of Judah were not obeying God.
- Joel wanted the people to repent.
- God is full of love and mercy.
- God loves people.
- One day, God will make all things new!