The Day of the Lord
In his day, Joel sounded an alarm to the nation of Judah. A great locust swarm had devastated the country and foreshadowed a greater catastrophe to come. Joel warned this was no mistake or accident of nature: he described an invasion that would come from God’s own hand.
“The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command” (Joel 2:11).
In their complacency the people lacked all sense. Disaster came, but they were asleep to the greater judgment, the day of the Lord. Joel’s message is clear: wise people live in light of the reality that God will judge.
Joel spoke to people who had every opportunity to know and follow God, yet did not. Like all who turn their backs on God and persistently refused to repent, they faced judgement. Were they simply devoted to their own causes, comfort,s and ambitions? Did they follow the outward form of biblical religion yet lack passion for the living God and concern for their neighbors? Perhaps they thought God’s great love meant He would overlook their sin… Whatever they were thinking, they were terribly and disastrously wrong.
Joel had announced an unprecedented disaster would soon devastate the land. Waves of locusts stripped every piece of vegetation; not even the bark was left behind. Overnight, the economy crumbled and security vanished. Just like the Prophet Habakkuk (chap. 3) questioned, how could anyone escape from the storm? Joel urged the people to seek safety in the only truly effective way: turn from their sin and grieve before God.