In The Word
Read: Joel 1:1- 2:17
The Devastation of Locusts
1 The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel:
2 Hear this, O elders,
And listen, all inhabitants of the land.
Has anything like this happened in your days
Or in your fathers’ days?
3 Tell your sons about it,
And let your sons tell their sons,
And their sons the next generation.
4 What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten;
And what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten;
And what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten.
5 Awake, drunkards, and weep;
And wail, all you wine drinkers,
On account of the sweet wine
That is cut off from your mouth.
6 For a nation has invaded my land,
Mighty and without number;
Its teeth are the teeth of a lion,
And it has the fangs of a lioness.
7 It has made my vine a waste
And my fig tree splinters.
It has stripped them bare and cast them away;
Their branches have become white.
8 Wail like a virgin girded with sackcloth
For the bridegroom of her youth.
9 The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off
From the house of the Lord.
The priests mourn,
The ministers of the Lord.
10 The field is ruined,
The land mourns;
For the grain is ruined,
The new wine dries up,
Fresh oil fails.
11 Be ashamed, O farmers,
Wail, O vinedressers,
For the wheat and the barley;
Because the harvest of the field is destroyed.
12 The vine dries up
And the fig tree fails;
The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree,
All the trees of the field dry up.
Indeed, rejoicing dries up
From the sons of men.
13 Gird yourselves with sackcloth
And lament, O priests;
Wail, O ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth
O ministers of my God,
For the grain offering and the drink offering
Are withheld from the house of your God.
Starvation and Drought
14 Consecrate a fast,
Proclaim a solemn assembly;
Gather the elders
And all the inhabitants of the land
To the house of the Lord your God,
And cry out to the Lord.
15 Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is near,
And it will come as destruction from the Almighty.
16 Has not food been cut off before our eyes,
Gladness and joy from the house of our God?
17 The seeds shrivel under their clods;
The storehouses are desolate,
The barns are torn down,
For the grain is dried up.
18 How the beasts groan!
The herds of cattle wander aimlessly
Because there is no pasture for them;
Even the flocks of sheep suffer.
19 To You, O Lord, I cry;
For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness
And the flame has burned up all the trees of the field.
20 Even the beasts of the field pant for You;
For the water brooks are dried up
And fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
The Terrible Visitation
2 Blow a trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm on My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
For the day of the Lord is coming;
Surely it is near,
2 A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness.
As the dawn is spread over the mountains,
So there is a great and mighty people;
There has never been anything like it,
Nor will there be again after it
To the years of many generations.
3 A fire consumes before them
And behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them
But a desolate wilderness behind them,
And nothing at all escapes them.
4 Their appearance is like the appearance of horses;
And like war horses, so they run.
5 With a noise as of chariots
They leap on the tops of the mountains,
Like the crackling of a flame of fire consuming the stubble,
Like a mighty people arranged for battle.
6 Before them the people are in anguish;
All faces turn pale.
7 They run like mighty men,
They climb the wall like soldiers;
And they each march in line,
Nor do they deviate from their paths.
8 They do not crowd each other,
They march everyone in his path;
When they burst through the defenses,
They do not break ranks.
9 They rush on the city,
They run on the wall;
They climb into the houses,
They enter through the windows like a thief.
10 Before them the earth quakes,
The heavens tremble,
The sun and the moon grow dark
And the stars lose their brightness.
11 The Lord utters His voice before His army;
Surely His camp is very great,
For strong is he who carries out His word.
The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome,
And who can endure it?
12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
13 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.
14 Who knows whether He will not turn and relent
And leave a blessing behind Him,
Even a grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?
15 Blow a trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and the nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom come out of his room
And the bride out of her bridal chamber.
17 Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers,
Weep between the porch and the altar,
And let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not make Your inheritance a reproach,
A byword among the nations.
Why should they among the peoples say,
‘Where is their God?’”
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
The prophet Joel let the people know that the judgment of God is not to be taken lightly. Total devastation and ruin followed God’s judgment. Some of the people that heard this message had experienced a measure of God’s correction in earlier times, but Joel let them know that this was worse than what they could ever imagine. However, Joel was not just bringing a message of judgment but one of hope. He told the people to blow a trumpet to get the people’s attention, call for a solemn assembly, and tell the people to throw themselves at the mercy of God. They needed to humble themselves with fasting, weeping, and mourning. It had to be an inward display of repentance and not just an outward religious expression. Joel reminded the people of God’s mercy, that He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness, and that He would relent and forgive if they found true repentance.
We are called to be like Joel, to let the people know that God’s judgment is coming. It is not to be taken lightly, and it is beyond what anyone has ever seen. However, we are not just bringing a message of judgment but one of hope. God has made a way to avoid this great judgment, and it is through repentance and faith in Christ. Many people have an outward religious expression, but it will do them no good in the time of judgment. For someone to receive mercy, they must have an inward display of repentance to walk in true faith. The judgment of God is coming; we must warn people to repent and put their faith in Christ if they are going to avoid it.