Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
2:1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near-
2:2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.
2:12 Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
2:13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
2:14 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?
2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly;
2:16 gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.
2:17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'”
There are many instances when there is a call for repentance. Here the prophet Joel is not only calling for the nation to turn away from sin but is also reminding them that God is faithful and that is why He is offering His hand of forgiveness towards them.
The reminder here is that despite their sin, God is faithful to forgive when we come to Him. Sin is always going to be something that we as Christians are going to struggle with. However it is not something that holds us captive anymore because Jesus’s death on the cross covered our sin. Joel here is also reminding us that there is nothing we can offer that can cover our sin. Jesus is asking for a true repentant heart that is open to His forgiveness and grace.
It is a simple and yet profound task for us to come to the realization that we are weak and in need of a loving Savior. Trust in His faithful and loving Grace to lead and guide you to follow after Him each and every day. We are no longer slaves to sin. Christ’s work on the cross offers us a place in which we are able to come to Him with our sin, lay them before His feet, and accept His forgiveness.
The “day of the Lord” was used by many prophets in the days of Israel. It was synonymous with the final judgement; the time when God would return and make all enemies his footstool and restore order in the world. Joel warns of this day soon to come. Yet, Joel’s oracle also hints at possible grace for those who will turn from there ways and follow the Lord. This grace was demonstrated by God when He became flesh incarnate as Jesus. Rather than wiping out the earth He gave us the greatest demonstration of love. The dreaded day of the Lord was postponed and replaced with an age of grace.
But do not be fooled into thinking that there will be no day of reckoning. There will be a return and when that happens, Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats and cast away those who are evil. We will eventually face our maker either in the day of His return or when we pass from this mortal life to the next. We must live with the conviction that we will indeed be judged and our behavior matters. The condition of our hearts is important. Do not be caught before the Lord unprepared to account for the life you’ve lived.