Verse 1 – Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord is coming, for it is at hand:
Whether this army was man or insect it represented the judgment force of Yahweh.
Verse 2 – A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them. Even for many successive generations.
As the morning spreads itself over all the hemisphere and first upon the high mountains, so shall the approaching calamities overspread this people – the Babylonians – a people great and strong.
Verse 3 – A fire devours them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; surely nothing shall escape them.
Verse 4 – Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; and like swift steeds, so they run.
Could this be what is described in Revelation 9:7? (Verse 7) And the shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads were crowns of something gold, and their faces were like the faces of men.
Verse 5 – With a noise like chariots over mountaintops they leap, like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, like a strong people set in battle array.
Verse 6 – Before them the people wither in pain; all faces are drained of color.
Verse 7 – They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like mighty men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks.
How else could locusts conduct themselves in such formation, unless God controlled them?
Verse 8 – They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column. And when they lung between the weapons, they are not cut down.
The sword will not be a weapon that can destroy them.
Verse 9 – They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief.
In many passages int he Bible, locusts are compared to armies and armies are compared to locusts.
Verse 10 – The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble; the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness.
Verse 11 – The Lord gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executed His word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it?
Joel continues the interplay of soldiers with locusts. The Day of the Lord is the day of judgment, full of darkness and horror, and full of punishment.
Verse 12 – “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
There is only one way to escape coming judgment, then and the in future, repent! We turn to Him with all our heats and become all He wants us to be.
Verse 13 – So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.
Deep remorse was often showed by tearing one’s cloths, but that’s not what God wanted. He wanted true repentance. True repentance will bring a true sincere change.
Verse 14 – Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him – a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?
Verse 15 – Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly;
Verse 16 – Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babies; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room.
In other words: “Stop what you’re doing and come before the Lord and repent!
Verse 17 – Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ”
Joel gave the instructions for the priests to follow in example for the people. He even tells them what to say. However, we know they did not repent because we know from history they were still invaded and consumed by the Babylonians.
Verse 18 – Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, and pity His people.
Verse 19 – The Lord will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among nations.
Joel begins to speak about God’s forgiveness and blessings, if only the people will leave their sins behind. Where there is repentance there is hope. This promise of hope should have encouraged the people to repent but it didn’t.
Verse 20 – “But I will remove far from you the northern army, and I will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, with his face toward the eastern sea and his back toward the western sea; his stench will come up, and his foul odor will rise, because he has done monstrous things.”
This verse may very well refer to the end times, where the surrounding nations come against God’s people. He drives them into the Valley of Megiddo for that great battle (Isaiah 34:1-7; Ezekiel 38; Daniel 11:36-45).
Verse 21 – Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things.!
Verse 22 – Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; for the open pastures are springing up, and the trees bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength.
Covenant blessings will be restored to the land.
Verse 23 – Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you – the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
Verse 24 – The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
Egypt had the Nile that they could irrigate water to their crops, but Israel depended on God for the rain in the Autumn and spring. What they had forgotten was that they also depended on God for their “Righteousness.”
Verse 25 – “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten, the crawling locusts, the consuming locusts, and the chewing locusts, My great army which I sent among you.
Through repentance all which had been lost by sin, is restored. Sin is an irreparable evil. It deprives the soul of grace, of its hope of glory; it forfeits heaven, it merits hell. God, through Christ, restores the sinner, blots out sin, and does away with its eternal consequences.
Verse 26 – 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 be put to shame.
Verse 27 – Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.
Yahweh is the sovereign Lord of history. He is in control of all nations and they ultimately serve His purpose no matter their intentions.
Last Events Before the Terrible Day of the Lord
Verse 28 – “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, your young men shall see visions;
Verse 29 – And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
“In those days!” Peter repeats this in Acts 2:17, the Day of Pentecost. God poured His Spirit on all peoples that day. They heard the Gospel of Christ preached that day in their own language.
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy – shall preach, exhort, pray, and instruct, so as to benefit the Church – God’s people.
Your old men shall dream dreams – have My will represented to them in this way as the others by direct inspiration.
Your young men shall see visions – Have true representations of Divine things made upon their imaginations by the power of God, that they shall have full evidence of them as they could have of any thing that came to mind through the medium of the senses.
Verse 30 – “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
Verse 31 – The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.
The cosmic signs that are part of the Day of the Lord inspire awe for the believer, but terror for the unbeliever. This day is one of Salvation as well as judgment.
Verse 32 – And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls.
This verse shows our obligation, and the Divine role we play in salvation. “To call” upon the name of the Lord implies right faith to call upon Him; right trust in Him, leaning on Him; right devotion with a sincere heart. This calling is not simply by words, but with a truly sincere heart wanting God’s will for their lives.
Matthew 7:14 – “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.’
This Christian life is not easy, but the reward so much more out weighs anything we might have to go through on this earth!