Joel 2

1 Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD comes, for it is close at hand: 2 a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn spreading on the mountains, a great and strong people; there has never been the like, neither will there be any more after them, even to the years of many generations. 3 A fire devours before them, and behind them, a flame burns. The land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them, a desolate wilderness. Yes, and no one has escaped them. 4 Their appearance is as the appearance of horses, and as horsemen, so do they run. 5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of the mountains do they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6 At their presence the peoples are in anguish. All faces have grown pale. 7 They run like mighty men. They climb the wall like warriors. They each march in his line, and they don’t swerve off course. 8 Neither does one jostle another; they march everyone in his path, and they burst through the defenses, and don’t break ranks. 9 They rush on the city. They run on the wall. They climb up into the houses. They enter in at the windows like thieves. 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 thunders his voice before his army; for his forces are very great; for he is strong who obeys his command; for the day of the LORD is great and very awesome, and who can endure it? 12 “Yet even now,” says the LORD, “turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.” 13 Tear your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the LORD, your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meal offering and a drink offering to the LORD, your God. 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion! Sanctify a fast. Call a solemn assembly. 16 Gather the people. Sanctify the assembly. Assemble the elders. Gather the children, and those who nurse from breasts. Let the bridegroom go out of his room, and the bride out of her room. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, “Spare your people, LORD, and don’t give your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say amongst the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” 18 Then the LORD was jealous for his land, and had pity on his people. 19 The LORD answered his people, “Behold, I will send you grain, new wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied with them; and I will no more make you a reproach amongst the nations. 20 But I will remove the northern army far away from you, and will drive it into a barren and desolate land, its front into the eastern sea, and its back into the western sea; and its stench will come up, and its bad smell will rise.” Surely he has done great things. 21 Land, don’t be afraid. Be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things. 22 Don’t be afraid, you animals of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness spring up, for the tree bears its fruit. The fig tree and the vine yield their strength. 23 “Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD, your God; for he gives you the former rain in just measure, and he causes the rain to come down for you, the former rain and the latter rain, as before. 24 The threshing floors will be full of wheat, and the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. 25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the great locust, the grasshopper, and the caterpillar, my great army, which I sent amongst you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied, and will praise the name of the LORD, your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and my people will never again be disappointed. 27 You will know that I am amongst Israel, and that I am the LORD, your God, and there is no one else; and my people will never again be disappointed. 28 “It will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. 29 And also on the servants and on the handmaids in those days, I will pour out my Spirit. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. 32 It will happen that whoever will call on the LORD’s name shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and amongst the remnant, those whom the LORD calls.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-14

The priests were to alarm the people with the near approach of the Divine judgments. It is the work of ministers to warn of the fatal consequences of sin, and to reveal the wrath from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The striking description which follows, shows what would attend the devastations of locusts, but may also describe the effects from the ravaging of the land by the Chaldeans. If the alarm of temporal judgments is given to offending nations, how much more should sinners be warned to seek deliverance from the wrath to come! Our business therefore on earth must especially be, to secure an interest in our Lord Jesus Christ; and we should seek to be weaned from objects which will soon be torn from all who now make idols of them. There must be outward expressions of sorrow and shame, fasting, weeping, and mourning; tears for trouble must be turned into tears for the sin that caused it. But rending the garments would be vain, except their hearts were rent by abasement and self-abhorrence; by sorrow for their sins, and separation from them. There is no question but that if we truly repent of our sins, God will forgive them; but whether he will remove affliction is not promised, yet the probability of it should encourage us to repent.

Verses 15-27

The priests and rulers are to appoint a solemn fast. The sinner’s supplication is, Spare us, good Lord. God is ready to succour his people; and he waits to be gracious. They prayed that God would spare them, and he answered them. His promises are real answers to the prayers of faith; with him saying and doing are not two things. Some understand these promises figuratively, as pointing to gospel grace, and as fulfilled in the abundant comforts treasured up for believers in the covenant of grace.

Verses 28-32

The promise began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it was continued in the converting grace and miraculous gifts conferred on both Jews and Gentiles. The judgments of God upon a sinful world, only go before the judgment of the world in the last day. Calling on God supposes knowledge of him, faith in him, desire toward him, dependence on him, and, as evidence of the sincerity of all this, conscientious obedience to him. Those only shall be delivered in the great day, who are now effectually called from sin to God, from self to Christ, from things below to things above.

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