The second chapter of Joel begins with the prophet telling the watchmen on the walls to blow the trumpets and sound the alarm signaling the coming day of the Lord.
In his prophecy, Joel had talked about a swarm of locusts that brought devastation throughout the land. Such a plague leaves people with nothing to eat and, of course, results in many deaths. There was no way to stop the locusts and prevent disaster. But there was more to this than a plague of locusts.
God spoke through His prophet to warn the people they should look beyond the locusts to an invading army from the north, and here he probably referred to the Assyrian invasion.
The first thing we see here is that God can do anything He pleases with men and locusts. The psalmist made this clear when he wrote, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” The second point is that God sent a warning of judgment on the people because of their sins. This is the day of the Lord about which Joel spoke.
Many people refuse to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. He is able to turn a tiny creature against a nation and He is able to use even the army of a heathen nation for His divine purpose.
It seems there is not much reverence for God today just as there was not much reverence in Joel’s day. In reverence we worship God, but it also is the way in which our lives say He is God and we are not. In reverence and obedience we live before God and we want to please Him. John wrote, “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
When Joel wrote the words we read this week, the people did not know when the invasion would take place. All they knew was that they should blow the trumpets, gather all the people together and turn back to God. They should tremble because the day of the Lord was coming, and it was coming soon.
God said they should turn to Him with all their heart. They should fast and weep because of their sins, and God wanted sincerity when they did these things. “And rend your heart, and not your garments,” He said. Man has always done a pretty good job in handling matters of outward worship. But that is not what God wants, and He tells them their hearts should be broken because of their sinfulness.
And why would someone not run brokenhearted to God and repent of their sins? Joel said God “is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” With this knowledge of the character and nature of God, we ought to be ready to repent of our sins.
God saw the Jews as a special heritage, and He promised that in His love He would “be jealous for his land, and pity his people.” They would no longer be “a reproach among the heathen.” It is obvious to the world when people are repentant before God and obedient to Him. They do not live recklessly as other people live.
Joel 2:28 tells us: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” The apostle Peter quoted this verse on the Day of Pentecost. “Afterward” in his sermon refers to the last days which began with the earthly ministry of Christ Jesus. The last days will conclude with the day of the Lord.
In Matthew 24, Jesus spoke about a time of judgment of the world when He said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
We find this promise in Joel 2:32: “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.” Yet again, we have sounded the alarm and we pray that people will heed it.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. email@example.com