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Daily Devotion for September 13, 2014

<i>The Prophet Joel</i> by Michelangelo, ca. 1512.
The Prophet Joel by Michelangelo, ca. 1512. Michelangelo painted seven prophets on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and his treatment of Joel is arguably the best of the seven.



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Ancient Prayer - For Support of the Holy Spirit

O  Educator, be gracious to thy children, O Educator, Father, Guide of Israel, Son and Father, both one, Lord. Give to us, who follow thy command, to fulfill the likeness of thy image, and to see, according to our strength, the God who is both a good God and a Judge who is not harsh. Do thou thyself bestow all things on us who dwell in thy peace, who have been placed in thy city, who sail the sea of sin unruffled, that we may be made tranquil and supported by the Holy Spirit, the unutterable Wisdom, by night and day, unto the perfect day, to sing eternal thanksgiving to the one only Father and Son, Son and Father, Educator and Teacher with the Holy Spirit.


For the Clergy and All Who Minister in Christ’s Name

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, in your divine providence you have appointed various orders in your Church: Give your grace, I humbly pray, to all who are called to any office and ministry for your people; and so fill them with the truth of your doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before you, to the glory of your great Name and for the benefit of the church of all faithful people, now and until the end of days.



[God the “Educator”.]


All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

The cover of the <i>Lindau Gospels</i> ca. 1880.
The cover of the Lindau Gospels ca. 1880.

First, Seek Truth

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth; only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.

~ C. S. Lewis

Blue Latin Cross

Joel 2:12, 28-32 (excerpts) (ESV)

[Verses 1-11 describe the destruction of Jerusalem.]

Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;

         *         *         *

“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.

Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.”

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.”

Notes on the Scripture

Israel after Solomon (35): Joel

Habakkuk may be a cipher, but Joel is a total mystery. Not only do we not know who he was, we have no idea when he lived, when the book was written, or even if the three chapters were written by the same person. Scholars place his life as early as 850 B.C., which would make him the first of the writing prophets, and as late a 350 B.C., which would make him the last (and would make Joel the final book in the Old Testament)(See chart.).

Monkey writing, Egerton ms.

The book of Joel has only three chapters and, by all appearances, they were written at different times. One might really characterize it as three short books combined together. A prophetic scroll written by a great minor prophet named Joel (Ch. 2); an early “local” prophecy warning of a plague of locusts, possibly by the same author (Ch. 1); and a third chapter, amended onto the first two after the fall of Judah.

Chapter 3 describes the repopulation of Judah and Jerusalem, and the defeat of its enemies. Much of the language of Ch. 3 is identical or strikingly similar to other prophetic writings, and likely is quoting them, or simply repeating them without attribution.

It is Ch. 2 that looms so large in the Christian world, for it is a great prophetic statement that will be quoted repeatedly in the New Testament, by Christ Himself in the Gospels, by Paul in Romans, and repeatedly in Acts.

Today's passage begins with language that goes all the way back to Moses and David, a reminder that God is gracious and merciful. Joel then predicts a time when God will “pour out [His] Spirit on all flesh.” How can we see this as anything except the Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Christ after His ascension?

The link between Joel's prophecy and the age we now live in — the “Church Age” — is bolstered by the mention of male and female servants, for this sounds more like Christianity than Judaism. Christianity is the religion of the obedient slave. We must always remember Christ's first public words, the Beatitudes, beginning: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:2-12)

Just as remarkable and unique is Joel's account of the Day of the Lord, for his words are echoed by both John, in Revelation, and by Christ Himself, in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. (See Matthew 24:29-31.)

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ Change - The Dreaded Word ”

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Memory Verse

2 Timothy 1:7: God has not given me a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-control.

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