Introduction: Assume disaster comes into your life. What is your most
important goal? To survive, and if possible, turn it to your
advantage. The Bible contains God’s promises to help us. This week we
look at the prophecies of Joel, a minor prophet, who predicted not
simply disaster, but the end of the world. He also prophesied what
God would do to help. Let’s jump right into Joel to see what God has
in mind for us in times of trouble!

  1. Plague

    1. Read Joel 1:1-3. What kind of event is coming? (An
      unprecedented event. Something worth remembering through
      succeeding generations.)

    2. Read Joel 1:4 and Joel 1:6-7. What is being described? (A
      plague of locusts.)

      1. How complete is the destruction of the crop? (All
        kinds of crops are destroyed.)

    3. Read Joel 1:5. Why should the drunks be concerned? (They
      have nothing to drink.)

    4. Read Joel 1:9. Why should the priests be concerned? (The
      temple offerings have been eaten.)

      1. Why would the Bible focus on drunks and priests?
        (This shows us that calamity falls on all – the good
        and the bad. Those who waste the wine and those who
        use it in God’s service – both suffer.)

    5. Read Joel 1:12. What other calamity has come? (It appears
      that there is also a drought.)

      1. What gives you joy? (Eating – it is even in the
        Bible. The destruction of food and drink is so
        complete that the people are without joy.)

  2. Plague Relief

    1. Read Joel 1:13-14 and Joel 1:19-20. What is the answer to
      this disaster? (Fasting and prayer. Coming to the house of
      God to cry out to God.)

    2. Re-read Joel 1:6. To what does God compare this disaster?
      (It is like being invaded by a powerful enemy army.)

  3. The Day of the Lord

    1. Read Joel 2:1. What is coming? (The “day of the Lord.”)

      1. What does that mean? (It refers to the Second Coming
        of Jesus.)

    2. Read Joel 2:2. Think about the pattern of Joel’s book.
      What unique reference do we see twice? (The reference to
      an invasion by a foreign nation – a large and mighty

      1. Were God and Joel just on the topic of “Terrible
        Things that Can Happen?” Or, do you see some other
        reason to link a terrible plague and the Second
        Coming? (The ultimate promise of deliverance from
        evil that God gives to us is His Second Coming. At
        that time He will rescue His people and begin the
        final destruction of evil.)

    3. Read Joel 2:3. How does God’s army operate? (It burns what
      is in its path.)

      1. Read Revelation 18:8-10 and 2 Peter 3:10. Is Joel’s
        prophecy consistent with New Testament prophecies of
        the end? (Yes, both tell us that the earth will be
        destroyed by fire.)

    4. Read Joel 2:4-6. We lose a great deal of the impact of
      this text because of our knowledge of modern warfare.
      Imagine that the only army you had ever seen consisted of
      foot soldiers with spears or bows. If you were one of
      those soldiers, how would you feel about going against an
      army mounted on horses? What about horses pulling
      chariots? What if you had never seen a horse before? (The
      amount of terror and surprise is summarized in “they leap
      over the mountaintops.” God brings fearsome power against
      the wicked.)

    5. Read Joel 2:10-11. How is the Second Coming both great
      and dreadful?

      1. What does this text reveal about the power of God?
        (It extends to the stars!)

      2. What is the answer to the final question: “Who can
        endure it?” (Read Joel 2:12-13. Those who turn to God
        can endure it.)

    6. We are not going to study Joel 2:14-27. The confusing
      part is that these verses seem to describe both the Second
      Coming and God’s rescue of His people in Joel’s day. My
      only explanation for this is that Jesus did something
      similar in Matthew 24 when He described the destruction of
      Jerusalem and the Second Coming in a way which intertwined

  4. Holy Spirit Power

    1. Read Joel 2:28. “And Afterward.” After what? The Second
      Coming of Jesus? (That cannot be the meaning, because in
      Acts 2 Peter says what is happening at Pentecost is a
      fulfillment of these words in Joel 2.)

      1. So, what do you think God means by “and afterward?”
        (Recall the pattern of the book so far. Calamity
        followed by God coming with salvation. Jesus came to
        earth and defeated the calamity of sin – and
        “afterward” the Holy Spirit came in power.)

      2. Would it be fair to conclude that the gift of the
        Holy Spirit is an essential part of the victory over
        calamity? (Yes! It central to a victory over sin.)

    2. How widespread is the gift of the Holy Spirit in Joel
      2:28-29? (It is a gift given to all. Gender is irrelevant.
      Age is irrelevant. Social standing is irrelevant.)

      1. Why do you think that God emphasizes this point of
        equality through Joel – a man who prophesied at a
        time when the priesthood consisted only of men? (The
        Holy Spirit is the power of God. The point is that in
        the end-time battle to finish God’s victory, all of
        God’s people have an equal part to play.)

    3. Read Joel 2:30. What, exactly, should we all be expecting
      to do through the power of the Holy Spirit? (The earlier
      verses said prophesy, dreams and visions. This verse says
      “wonders” and it mentions them being done on earth.)

      1. Let’s explore this in Acts. Read Acts 2:1-3. What
        does this teach us that we should expect? (Wind,
        noise, fire and speaking in tongues.)

      2. Let’s explore this in Acts 5:12-16. What does this
        teach us that we should expect? (Miraculous signs and

    4. Read Matthew 24:24. What warning are we given about
      similar events in the last times? (That Satan will have
      his agents performing great signs and miracles.)

      1. Let’s look more closely at this by examining the
        context. Read Matthew 24:23-26. In what context do we
        find these Satanic signs? (They are connected with
        someone claiming to be Jesus.)

        1. Is this a reliable way to distinguish the work
          of the Holy Spirit from the work of Satan –
          that the person also claims to be Jesus?

    5. In Matthew 12 the Pharisees attribute the miracles
      performed by Jesus to the power of Satan. Read Matthew
      12:25-28. What is Jesus’ response to those charges?

    6. Read Matthew 12:31-32. What is the unpardonable sin?
      (Attributing the power of the Holy Spirit to Satan.)

      1. Did our work in discerning end-time signs and wonders
        just become a lot more difficult?(I think this is a
        solemn warning for us to be very careful about
        condemning miracle-working (or any apparent
        manifestation of the Holy Spirit) by fellow

    7. Friend, in this world we face problems and sometimes
      disaster. God promises that He will make everything
      right. Part of this promise, is that He will send the Holy
      Spirit to be with us and empower us to do great things.
      Is the Holy Spirit in your life? Would you like to ask the
      Holy Spirit to come in power?

  5. Next week: Lord of All Nations (Amos).