Joel Chapter 2

The Day of the Lord
1 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, 2 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. 3 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. 4 Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run. 5 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. 6 Before them peoples are in anguish; all faces grow pale. 7 Like warriors they charge; like soldiers they scale the wall. They march each on his way; they do not swerve from their paths. 8 They do not jostle one another; each marches in his path; they burst through the weapons and are not halted. 9 They leap upon the city, they run upon the walls, they climb up into the houses, they enter through the windows like a thief. 10 The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. 11 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?

Bible Commentary for 2:1-11
 In chapter 2, Joel reminds his listeners that the plague of locusts is not the worst thing that could happen. Another cataclysm is coming that should be of greater concern. The “day of the LORD” (vv 1, 11) points us to the ultimate judgment spoken of in many other biblical texts (Isa. 13:6; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph 1:14-17). Joel’s language might seem to suggest another plague of locusts or even the attack of a human army, but he is describing the army of the Lord of hosts coming with our messianic King at the final judgment. God’s people have proven faithless. God’s people must reap the consequences.

     The cosmic imagery of v.10 reminds us of the words of Jesus as he describes the same event (Matt. 24:29-31). He describes everything from the last trumpet to signs in the heavens to the army of angels who will accompany him at his return. It is the prospect of this final judgment day that should cause people to tremble. Jesus makes it clear, however, that for his people the final day is a day of deliverance–because he has already taken their judgment upon himself on the cross.

 Not only on the final day of history, but also on the final day of Christ’s earthly ministry, the sun and sky were darkened(Mark 15:33). He died in the middle of history amid darkened skies so that we can know that our own personal darkened skies are not meant to punish us. Rather, such trials are preparing us for that final day when Christ will come in glory to receive and finally release his people into light and joy.

Rev 1:5-8— 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Return to the Lord

12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 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. 14 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? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 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. 17 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?’”

2:12-17 Once again, in light of the coming of the day of the Lord, the call is to repent. Joel says “return” to the Lord (vv 12-13). The Hebrew word means “turn.” True repentance is not only sorrow that we sinned against the Lord but a determination to change direction in our lives–turning from the sin to God, in love and dependence. You can tell that you have truly repented if you are determined to turn your back on sin and walk with the Lord in loving obedience, through the power he provides.

     Our motive for heartfelt “returning” to the Lord is his own character: “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (v 13 quoting Ex. 34:6) The apostle Paul will later echo these truths, saying, “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance” (Rom 2:4).

The Lord Had Pity

18 Then the Lord became jealous for his land and had pity on his people. 19 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. 20 “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. 21 “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! 22 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. 23 “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. 24 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine  25 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. 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 again be put to shame.” 27 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.

2:18-27  These verses mark not only the halfway point of the book but also its turning point as Joel announces the covenant faithfulness of the Lord. Despite the sins of his people, the Lord’s purpose will not be frustrated as he promises provision (vv 19, 24, 26) and protection (v 20).
     What is at stake is not merely the well-being of God’s people but the glory of his own holy name. The foundation of God’s grace shines through in his promises despite the sins of his people. In Jesus we see the fulfillment of God’s promise of both protection and provision. He protects us from the greatest of all dangers: condemnation for our sin(Rom. 8:1). And he promises to provide “every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). When the Lord is your God, you have nothing to fear (vv 21-22). When the Lord is your God, you have every reason to be glad (v 23).

The Lord Will Pour Out His Spirit

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, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. 30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 32 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.

2:28-32 The Lord promises not only provision and protection but the pervasive power and presence of the Holy spirit. In the Old Testament narratives, the Spirit was primarily depicted as an instrument or expression of God’s power that visited only certain people at specific times to accomplish certain divine purposes. Moses longed for the day when there would be a pervasive presence of this Spirit among all the Lord’s people (Num. 11:29). These verses in Joel speak of the day when that longing will be fulfilled as a result of the great work of redemption of the coming Lord.

The fulfillment of this prophecy was made apparent on the day of Pentecost, as God made plain his eternal Trinitarian nature and the blessing of his Spirit upon all who believe in Christ (Acts 2:14-28). On that day and for the sake of the expanding church, God revealed fully the Spirit of God that indwells everyone who believes in Jesus–men and women, young and old, insider and outsider. Because the role of the Spirit is to testify of Jesus and minister him to our hearts (John 14:16-20; 16:7-15). Jesus is always present with believers through his Spirit–to comfort (John 14:25-27), transform (Gal. 5:22-23), teach (John 14:26), assure (Rom. 8:16-17), and intercede (Rom. 8:26). Verse 32 assures us that this grace and these gifts are available to all who will call on the Lord in faith and repentance.

Again Joel warns us about what is coming. That everyone needs to return to the Lord. Everyone needs to totally open their hearts up to the Lord and repent. We need to totally rely on Jesus and no one or nothing else. He will use his power to discipline us and to provide for us and protect us using the presence of the Holy Spirit. We need to be as Christ-like as possible as it says above, Jesus is always present through his spirit to offer comfort, transform, teach, assure and intercede for us. Thank you Jesus!

Please post any devotionals you may have read today, songs you listened to today and bible verses you read that touched you today.

I wish everyone a very blessed Monday.

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