Ever had your heart broken? What was it that did it? A boy, a girl, a television show being cancelled? Joel prophesied about the impending destruction of Jersalem sometime in the late 6th century BCE. His message was simple, “Repent! Break your hearts!” Israel hadn’t amounted to what it was meant to, and Joel wanted people to understand that. This week, we’ll struggle with the question: What is the value of a broken heart, and can it help us fix the mess we’re in?

 

Icebreaker

Did you ever have your heart broken as a kid? What happened?

 

Scripture Reading

Joel 2

 

Discussion Questions

Read Joel 2:1-11

  1. What is interesting/surprising to you about this section?
  2. What is the punishing army being prophesied about? Why would God punish Israel?
  3. Leader’s Note: Chapter 1 describes the army as a plague of locusts. God is threatening to bring famine into the land of Israel. Israel is being punished for its failures to live into the Covenant with God.
  4. Punishment is a constant theme in the prophetic books, and it is very prominent here. Why is punishment for misdeeds such a big theme? What value is their in it, if any?
    Leader’s Note: God’s Covenant with Israel spells out a series of blessings and cursings based upon their continued keeping of this Covenant. See Deuteronomy 28.
  5. What are some things you see in the world around you that seem to escape justice? How do you think God should deal with those things?

Read Joel 2:12-27.

  1. What is interesting/surprising to you about this section?
  2. Why does God desire people to “rend their hearts” and not just their clothes? What does that mean?
  3. What do the actions called for in verses 15-17 tell us about the process of repentance?
    Leader’s Note: The actions taken by the community are also restorative, they begin to heal the bonds of the community itself. These forms of repentance are also public, repentance is not just a individual thing.
  4. Another large theme in the prophets is GOd’s faithfulness to Israel. Despite their misdeeds, God is still committed to Israel. What sort of God does this section of the passage describe? How does this pciture of God relate to the other picture of God?
  5. Joel calles for public repentance on the part of Israel. What are some things that the Church today needs  to repent for? Thinking about this passage, what would that process look like?

Read Joel 2:28-32.

  1. What is interesting/surprising to you about this section?
  2. How does this day of the Lord contrast with the day of the Lord in the first section? What has change?
  3. This passage was verty important for early Christians. How do you see it being related to Jesus?
  4. What do you think the purpose of God pouring out his Spirit is? How does it relate to repentance and restoration of the community?
  5. Do you feel like the Spirit is poured out on you? What is the Spirit of God leading you to repent of or work to restore?

 

 

Helpful Resources

The Reunion Team