What does it take for you to be convinced?

Are you someone who needs to do extensive research on your own before you will accept something as true?

Or are you convinced because of who you initially heard something from?

One time in a discussion group a fellow student of mine exclaimed in a frustrating tone that he was struggling with the varied readings we had been assigned. He felt both authors gave compelling arguments from the opposite point of view. He had felt convinced by each author until he read the next one.  

I noticed our professor, who was sitting in on the discussion, exhibited a quick little smirk with a twinkle in his eye before responding calmly, “Have you compared both author’s point of views with what scripture actually says on the topic?”

  • Have you ever been in that situation?
  • Uncertain of what you should be convinced about?
  • What is the most important thing to be convinced of according to scripture?

Read Joel 2:27 from several translation versions:

ESV  Joel 2:27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.

NAS  Joel 2:27 “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, And that I am the LORD your God And there is no other; And My people will never be put to shame.

NET  Joel 2:27 You will be convinced that I am in the midst of Israel. I am the LORD your God; there is no other. My people will never again be put to shame.

NIV  Joel 2:27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.

Look again at the opening phrase of each version:

ESV  Joel 2:27 You shall know

NAS  Joel 2:27 “Thus you will know

NET  Joel 2:27 You will be convinced

NIV  Joel 2:27 Then you will know

What has transpired in the book of Joel before this statement the Judeans (or Israelites) will be convinced or know something?

  • The book of Joel is a message from the Lord to the Judean community.
  • The Lord spoke through the prophet Joel to get the attention of the Judeans.
  • Chapter One describes a terrible locust invasion followed by drought and fires  that destroyed every scrap of vegetation in the community.
  • Chapter One also issues a call for the community to humble themselves with the implication being that they have neglected their relationship with the Lord.
  • Chapter Two is launched with a warning trumpet blast that the Lord has sent His unstoppable heavenly forces to conquer the Judeans.
  • But in Joel 2:12 the Lord indicates there is still time to stop His announced judgment.
  • 2:14 raises the possibility that the Lord may turn and have pity
  • 2:13-16 give specific instructions of what the general populace need to do.
  • 2:17 gives specific instructions to the priests or ministers of the Lord to weep before Him in His temple on behalf of the community.
  • 2:17 also draws the reputation of the Lord in the eyes of surrounding nations under scrutiny.
  • 2:18 implies that if the Judeans have responded sincerely to the previous verses then the Lord’s compassion or pity will be aroused.
  • 2:19 yields a promise from the Lord to restore the Judeans to a state of being fully satisfied and free from scorn.
  • 2:20-26 continue to describe all that the Lord will do to completely reverse the previous situation.

What does Joel 2:27 say the Judeans will now be convinced of or know?

  • God is in their midst
  • The Lord is emphatically their only God
  • The Judeans will never again be put to shame.

What does it mean that God is in their midst?

It means He is present with them.

  • Do you have a sense of God’s presence with you today?
  • When do you sense His presence the most?
  • When everything is going well or when things are challenging?

(Also consider reading a previous post of mine titled In the midst that discusses Genesis 2:9.)

What does it mean that the Lord is their God and there is no other?

It means the Lord is not only unique but is in and desires a relationship with His creation.

  • Do you believe the Lord is unique?
  • What type of relationship do you have with the Lord today?
  • Do you consider a relationship with the Lord to be the most important relationship to cultivate?
  • How do you ensure that your relationship with the Lord stays strong?

What does it mean that the Lord’s people will never be shamed again?

Review Joel 2:17:

ESV  Joel 2:17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'”

This was the prayer the priests were to say on behalf of the suffering the community had been experiencing due to the locusts, drought, and fire.

The question they were to ask of God is considering the impact of their witness to those around them about His power to care for them.

(Also consider reviewing my previous post on Joel 2:17.)

  • Are you convinced that the Lord holds true to what is promised in scripture?
  • Where do you see the Lord fulfilling the promises found in scripture?
  • How does the Lord take care of you day to day right now?
  • Do you have food?
  • Do you have clothes?
  • Do you have shelter?
  • Do you have enough to share with someone else that is lacking these things?
  • Could this be a way to witness the same care for others that the Lord desires to show you?
  • If you are not convinced the Lord cares about you, what do you need to know to believe He does?

The previous verse, Joel 2:26, states that the Lord’s people will have their greatest needs met through Him, no matter what those needs are.

Sometimes though we miss how the Lord provides because we have a preconceived notion of what we think is best for us.

May our eyes be opened in the week to come about the abundance the Lord has already provided us so that we may be His faithful and convinced witnesses to the world around us.

The Lord is unique and desires to supply you with everything you truly need. But most importantly, He wants you to know that He is your Lord.

Are you convinced yet?


Barbara Lynn

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