Joel 2

Joel 2

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The Day of the Lord

  Blow a trumpet in Zion;
    sound an alarm on my holy mountain!
  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
    for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near,
  a day of darkness and gloom,
    a day of clouds and thick darkness!
  Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
    a great and powerful people;
  their like has never been before,
    nor will be again after them
    through the years of all generations.
  Fire devours before them,
    and behind them a flame burns.
  The land is like the garden of Eden before them,
    but behind them a desolate wilderness,
    and nothing escapes them.
  Their appearance is like the appearance of horses,
    and like war horses they run.
  As with the rumbling of chariots,
    they leap on the tops of the mountains,
  like the crackling of a flame of fire
    devouring the stubble,
  like a powerful army
    drawn up for battle.
  Before them peoples are in anguish;
    all faces grow pale.
  Like warriors they charge;
    like soldiers they scale the wall.
  They march each on his way;
    they do not swerve from their paths.
  They do not jostle one another;
    each marches in his path;
  they burst through the weapons
    and are not halted.
  They leap upon the city,
    they run upon the walls,
  they climb up into the houses,
    they enter through the windows like a thief.
  The earth quakes before them;
    the heavens tremble.
  The sun and the moon are darkened,
    and the stars withdraw their shining.
  The LORD utters his voice
    before his army,
  for his camp is exceedingly great;
    he who executes his word is powerful.
  For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome;
    who can endure it?

Return to the Lord

  “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
    “return to me with all your heart,
  with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
    and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
  Return to the LORD your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
  slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
    and he relents over disaster.
  Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
    and leave a blessing behind him,
  a grain offering and a drink offering
    for the LORD your God?
  Blow the trumpet in Zion;
    consecrate a fast;
  call a solemn assembly;
    gather the people.
  Consecrate the congregation;
    assemble the elders;
  gather the children,
    even nursing infants.
  Let the bridegroom leave his room,
    and the bride her chamber.
  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?’”

The Lord Had Pity

  Then the LORD became jealous for his land
    and had pity on his people.
  The LORD answered and said to his people,
  “Behold, I am sending to you
    grain, wine, and oil,
    and you will be satisfied;
  and I will no more make you
    a reproach among the nations.
  “I will remove the northerner far from you,
    and drive him into a parched and desolate land,
  his vanguard into the eastern sea,
    and his rear guard into the western sea;
  the stench and foul smell of him will rise,
    for he has done great things.
  “Fear not, O land;
    be glad and rejoice,
    for the LORD has done great things!
  Fear not, you beasts of the field,
    for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
  the tree bears its fruit;
    the fig tree and vine give their full yield.
  “Be glad, O children of Zion,
    and rejoice in the LORD your God,
  for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
    he has poured down for you abundant rain,
    the early and the latter rain, as before.
  “The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
    the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
  I will restore to you the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten,
  the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
    my great army, which I sent among you.
  “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
    and praise the name of the LORD your God,
    who has dealt wondrously with you.
  And my people shall never again be put to shame.
  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.

The Lord Will Pour Out His Spirit

  “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.

(ESV)


Joel 2 Commentary

by Hank Workman

There is a warning, a bold call to repentance and promise found in this chapter.  Joel foresees and speaks of the devastation coming to the land of Israel as armies from other nations came against them.  The description is detailed and frightening.  Later he speaks of the Day of the Lord, which is a reference to the return of Christ and the effect this has as well.  It’s interesting to consider how Jesus spoke with much of the same verbiage used here by the prophet to the buildup of His return.  It would be a horrific chapter if it wasn’t laced with hope.

Once again, God gives fair warning but also calls the people to repent.  The repentance must be genuine however and not some outward sign.

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.”

Joel 2:12-13

God sees our hearts, not the externals of which we do that create an illusion of repentance.  He knows the very recesses of our hearts and if they’re genuinely repentant or not.

We’re pretty good at putting on fronts, aren’t we?  We create this image even that we’re making changes, setting our course differently, but if it’s simply an appearance it doesn’t take much time for that to be shown for what it’s worth.  We go back pretty quickly toward the things of which we were so ‘sorrowful’ for.

Time always shows if repentance is true.  More importantly, though, the Lord knew if it was from the beginning.

How far does a person have to fall?  How cornered in their own destructive decisions do they have to paint themselves into before the Holy Spirit finally gets hold of their hearts?  What does it take for genuine sorrow and mourning of such neglect of God to bring genuine repentance?

Genuine repentance releases us from the baggage and turmoil.  It brings about a freedom and hope we’ve not had before.

As the Lord spoke through Joel, He promised and promises today to restore what the locusts have eaten; He speaks of renewal and hope to be found.  He states of how His Spirit will work within these who do indeed return to Him.  Rain will fall heavily upon the dry land of our lives.


Joel 2 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The plague of locusts would be devastating and overpowering. Their appearance would be like horses as they scaled walls like men and dodged arrows with speed and agility. The scene is poetic and reads almost like a Sci-Fi blockbuster film. This plague is sent by God to do His will. Again, as I outlined yesterday, the point is that God will make good on His promise to completely eradicate evil and suffering forever. For those who know Jesus, it will be a moment of justice. For those who do not, it will be their darkest hour. But I want to go back to the army for a moment…

The locusts have been given a divine purpose and they execute God’s plan with absolute precision. Verses 7-8 represent a powerful metaphor for how to respond to God’s battle plan.

They attack as warriors attack; they scale walls as men of war do. Each goes on his own path, and they do not change their course.  8  They do not push each other; each man proceeds on his own path. They dodge the arrows, never stopping.

Joel 2:7-8 HCSB

Let’s expand the application. God has raised up an army to battle in His Name against the spiritual forces that seek to steal, kill and destroy. He has given freedom, purpose, and a mission. He has given orders of rank and has set before each person a path. Your path is different than mine. You may be called to the middle of the attack while I am called to the outside lane. Each of us moves forward in our own lane as we also work together to accomplish the Father’s will in the grand scheme of life.

The imagery is striking. Consider how Joel describes the balance of unity and individuality.

  • They attack as warriors each on their own path and do not change course.
  • They do not push against each other, but each fulfills the responsibilities that God has put before them.
  • They dodge arrows never stopping, relentless in their pursuit to see the victory in the end.

Galatians 6 brings a New Testament perspective to these thoughts.

Stay on your path and do not change course. Galatians 6:5 HCSB  For each person will have to carry his own load.

Do not push against each other. Galatians 6:10 HCSB  Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.

Never stop. Galatians 6:9 HCSB  So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.

There is a degree to which we each have a battle to face directly in front of us. God has given us His divine power to face that challenge. But, we are also called to function as one, not battling against one another in the church but working as a unified front in gracious obedience. Finally, the Bible speaks extensively of the patient endurance that each of us should have when following Christ. The fuel in our tanks is the love and grace of our Savior who paid it all!

When considering all of this, there are many difficult questions we can wrestle through. Have you changed your course lately and strayed from what you know God has called you to? Have you been wrestling against those in the Body who are seeking to follow Jesus? Are you at a place of giving up?

The hope is that Jesus’ love is deeper than any of our struggles or insecurities. When we step out in faith, He is faithful!

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