• Is there a speech you have heard that you still remember even though it was years ago?
  • Why did that speech impact you so significantly?
  • Do you remember who delivered the speech or do you just remember the impact of their words?
  • Or maybe the words that impacted you were not part of a formal speech but  written in a book or letter?
  • Whose speech, whether spoken or written, do you place high value on today?
  • Why?

If you have been following  this blog regularly you will know that we are working our way through the book of Joel in the Old Testament mostly one verse at a time. (See links below for all posts in this series on Joel.)

Today we come to the following verse:

ESV  Joel 3:8 I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away, for the LORD has spoken.”

The first part of Joel 3:8 recalls Joel 3:2-3 where we are told that the Judeans whom the Lord considers His inheritance had been scattered and sold by all nations.

Joel 3:4-8 specifically narrows the scope of the Lord’s speech down to a specific set of people from Tyre, Sidon and Philistia.

The Lord indicates that He will repay Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia with the exact measure with which they had treated the Judeans.

Scholars point out that the description of Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia being sold to the Sabeans is meant to convey that as they had sold the Judeans to the Greeks to the North, so they would be sold by the Judeans to the same degree southwards.

What is this speech by the Lord of the Judeans and His disciples today meant to communicate?

We need to remember that this verse is part of a small book or letter sent to a community of Judeans through the prophet Joel from their Lord.

ESV  Joel 1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel.

The Lord has been detailing in the book of Joel all He has done to alert the people He claims as His inheritance to wake up and return to a faithful relationship with Him.

What has the Lord done?

  • He sent locusts, not once, but in successive waves. (See Joel 1:4.)
  • He sent drought and fire after the locusts. (See Joel 1:17-19.)
  • He revealed He would discipline the Judeans with His own heavenly army that He compared as mightier and deadlier than the locusts. (See Joel 2:1-11.)
  • Yet, He also revealed that if the Judeans would turn wholeheartedly back into a faithful relationship with Him, He would stay His hand of discipline and restore them physically and spiritually. (See Joel 2:12-32.)
  • Then in chapter 3 the Lord reveals that He plans to judge all other nations that have taken advantage or abused the Judeans in any way. (See Joel 3:1-3.)
  • Joel 3:4-8 mentions specific nations with a sarcastic tone and legalistic banter saying that what they have done to the Lord’s inheritance will be repaid in full.

Read Joel 3:8 again:

ESV  Joel 3:8 I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away, for the LORD has spoken.”

How does this verse end?

…for the LORD has spoken.

What does this final phrase communicate?

Take a moment to review Genesis 1.

Genesis 1 is an account of how the Lord spoke and created the world.

Do you have the power to simply speak something into existence?

Does reviewing Genesis 1 help you understand the power communicated in the last phrase of Joel 3:8?

  • The Lord’s speech communicates His word is final.
  • The Lord’s speech communicates what He has promised He will indeed fulfill.
  • The Lord’s speech communicates that His people are to trust that He will discipline those who take advantage of them in any way.
  • The Lord’s speech communicates that His people may be encouraged and have hope of being restored, not just physically and spiritually, but also emotionally and mentally.

Have you been harmed in any way by another human in your lifetime?

Do you trust in a Lord that has the power in His speech alone to defend you?

Do you trust in a Lord that has the power in His speech alone to restore you physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally?

Do you struggle with the image of a Lord that reveals He will discipline His people as well as other nations?

Let me encourage you in the week to come to meditate on the following passage:

ESV  John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Some final questions to consider as you reflect on all this study:

What value is there in having a Lord who keeps His word?

What value is there in having a Lord who disciplines His creation?

What is the purpose of discipline?

How will you pray this week for not only yourself but those who have harmed you?


Barbara Lynn

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