Joel 1; Joel 2; Joel 3

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Joel 1

2 Older leaders, listen to this message. Listen to me, all you who live in the land. Nothing like this has ever happened during your lifetime or during your ancestors' lifetimes.
3 Tell your children about these things, let your children tell their children, and let your grandchildren tell their children.
4 What the cutting locusts have left, the swarming locusts have eaten; what the swarming locusts have left, the hopping locusts have eaten, and what the hopping locusts have left, the destroying locustsn have eaten.
5 Drunks, wake up and cry! All you people who drink wine, cry! Cry because your wine has been taken away from your mouths.
6 A powerful nation has come into my land with too many soldiers to count. It has teeth like a lion, jaws like a female lion.
7 It has made my grapevine a waste and made my fig tree a stump. It has stripped all the bark off my trees and left the branches white.
8 Cry as a young woman cries when the man she was going to marry has died.
9 There will be no more grain or drink offerings to offer in the Temple of the Lord. Because of this, the priests, the servants of the Lord, are sad.
10 The fields are ruined; the ground is dried up. The grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, and the olive oil runs out.
11 Be sad, farmers. Cry loudly, you who grow grapes. Cry for the wheat and the barley. Cry because the harvest of the field is lost.
12 The vines have become dry, and the fig trees are dried up. The pomegranate trees, the date palm trees, the apple trees -- all the trees in the field have died. And the happiness of the people has died, too.
13 Priests, put on your rough cloth and cry to show your sadness. Servants of the altar, cry out loud. Servants of my God, keep your rough cloth on all night to show your sadness. Cry because there will be no more grain or drink offerings to offer in the Temple of your God.
14 Call for a day when no one eats food! Tell everyone to stop work! Bring the older leaders and everyone who lives in the land to the Temple of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.
15 What a terrible day it will be! The Lord's day of judging is near, when punishment will come like a destroying attack from the Almighty.
16 Our food is taken away while we watch. Joy and happiness are gone from the Temple of our God.
17 Though we planted fig seeds, they lie dry and dead in the dirt. The barns are empty and falling down. The storerooms for grain have been broken down, because the grain has dried up.
18 The animals are groaning! The herds of cattle wander around confused, because they have no grass to eat; even the flocks of sheep suffer.
19 Lord, I am calling to you for help, because fire has burned up the open pastures, and flames have burned all the trees in the field.
20 Wild animals also need your help. The streams of water have dried up, and fire has burned up the open pastures.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Joel 2

1 Blow the trumpet in Jerusalem; shout a warning on my holy mountain. Let all the people who live in the land shake with fear, because the Lord's day of judging is coming; it is near.
2 It will be a dark, gloomy day, cloudy and black. Like the light at sunrise, a great and powerful army will spread over the mountains. There has never been anything like it before, and there will never be anything like it again.
3 In front of them a fire destroys; in back of them a flame burns. The land in front of them is like the garden of Eden; the land behind them is like an empty desert. Nothing will escape from them.
4 They look like horses, and they run like war horses.
5 It is like the noise of chariots rumbling over the tops of the mountains, like the noise of a roaring fire burning dry stalks. They are like a powerful army lined up for battle.
6 When they see them, nations shake with fear, and everyone's face becomes pale.
7 They charge like soldiers; they climb over the wall like warriors. They all march straight ahead and do not move off their path.
8 They do not run into each other, because each walks in line. They break through all efforts to stop them and keep coming.
9 They run into the city. They run at the wall and climb into the houses, entering through windows like thieves.
10 Before them, earth and sky shake. The sun and the moon become dark, and the stars stop shining.
11 The Lord shouts out orders to his army. His army is very large! Those who obey him are very strong! is an overwhelming and terrible day. No one can stand up against it!
12 The Lord says, "Even now, come back to me with all your heart. Go without food, and cry and be sad."
13 Tearing your clothes is not enough to show you are sad; let your heart be broken. Come back to the Lord your God, because he is kind and shows mercy. He doesn't become angry quickly, and he has great love. He can change his mind about doing harm.
14 Who knows? Maybe he will turn back to you and leave behind a blessing for you. Grain and drink offerings belong to the Lord your God.
15 Blow the trumpet in Jerusalem; call for a day when no one eats food. Tell everyone to stop work.
16 Bring the people together and make the meeting holy for the Lord. Bring together the older leaders, as well as the children, and even babies that still feed at their mothers' breasts. The bridegroom should come from his room, the bride from her bedroom.
17 The priests, the Lord's servants, should cry between the altar and the entrance to the Temple. They should say, "Lord, have mercy on your people. Don't let them be put to shame; don't let other nations make fun of them. Don't let people in other nations ask, 'Where is their God?'"
18 Then the Lord became concerned about his land and felt sorry for his people.
19 He said to them: "I will send you grain, new wine, and olive oil, so that you will have plenty. No more will I shame you among the nations.
20 I will force the army from the north to leave your land and go into a dry, empty land. Their soldiers in front will be forced into the Dead Sea, and those in the rear into the Mediterranean Sea. Their bodies will rot and stink.
21 Land, don't be afraid; be happy and full of joy, because the Lord has done a wonderful thing.
22 Wild animals, don't be afraid, because the open pastures have grown grass. The trees have given fruit; the fig trees and the grapevines have grown much fruit.
23 So be happy, people of Jerusalem; be joyful in the Lord your God. Because he does what is right, he has brought you rain; he has sent the fall rain and the spring rain for you, as before.
24 And the threshing floors will be full of grain; the barrels will overflow with new wine and olive oil.
25 "Though I sent my great army against you -- those swarming locusts and hopping locusts, the destroying locusts and the cutting locustsn that ate your crops -- I will pay you back for those years of trouble.
26 Then you will have plenty to eat and be full. You will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has done miracles for you. My people will never again be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am among the people of Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other God. My people will never be shamed again.
28 "After this, I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.
29 At that time I will pour out my Spirit also on male slaves and female slaves.
30 I will show miracles in the sky and on the earth: blood, fire, and thick smoke.
31 The sun will become dark, the moon red as blood, before the overwhelming and terrible day of the Lord comes.
32 Then anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved, because on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be people who will be saved, just as the Lord has said. Those left alive after the day of punishment are the people whom the Lord called.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Joel 3

1 "In those days and at that time, when I will make things better for Judah and Jerusalem,
2 I will gather all the nations together and bring them down into the Valley Where the Lord Judges. There I will judge them, because those nations scattered my own people Israel and forced them to live in other nations. They divided up my land
3 and threw lots for my people. They traded boys for prostitutes, and they sold girls to buy wine to drink.
4 "Tyre and Sidon and all of you regions of Philistia! What did you have against me? Were you punishing me for something I did, or were you doing something to hurt me? I will very quickly do to you what you have done to me.
5 You took my silver and gold, and you put my precious treasures in your temples.
6 You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks so that you could send them far from their land.
7 "You sent my people to that faraway place, but I will get them and bring them back, and I will do to you what you have done to them.
8 I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabean people far away." The Lord said this.
9 Announce this among the nations: Prepare for war! Wake up the soldiers! Let all the men of war come near and attack.
10 Make swords from your plows, and make spears from your hooks for trimming trees. Let even the weak person say, "I am a soldier."
11 All of you nations, hurry, and come together in that place. Lord, send your soldiers to gather the nations.
12 "Wake up, nations, and come to attack in the Valley Where the Lord Judges. There I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.
13 Swing the cutting tool, because the harvest is ripe. Come, walk on them as you would walk on grapes to get their juice, because the winepress is full and the barrels are spilling over, because these people are so evil!"
14 There are huge numbers of people in the Valley of Decision, because the Lord's day of judging is near in the Valley of Decision.
15 The sun and the moon will become dark, and the stars will stop shining.
16 The Lord will roar like a lion from Jerusalem; his loud voice will thunder from that city, and the sky and the earth will shake. But the Lord will be a safe place for his people, a strong place of safety for the people of Israel.
17 "Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, live on my holy Mount Zion. Jerusalem will be a holy place, and strangers will never even go through it again.
18 "On that day wine will drip from the mountains, milk will flow from the hills, and water will run through all the ravines of Judah. and give water to the valley of acacia trees.
19 But Egypt will become empty, and Edom an empty desert, because they were cruel to the people of Judah. They killed innocent people in that land.
20 But there will always be people living in Judah, and people will live in Jerusalem from now on.
21 Egypt and Edom killed my people, so I will definitely punish them."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.