“Yet even now,” says the Lord, “return to Me with all your heart, crying in sorrow and eating no food. Tear your heart and not your clothes.” Return to the Lord your God, for He is full of loving-kindness and loving-pity. He is slow to anger, full of love, and ready to keep His punishment from you. It may be that He will turn and have pity, and leave good behind for you.” Joel 2:12-14 (a).
The coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD is no comparison to the current sufferings.
When you read the book of Joel in the Bible, which is part of the prophetical section in the Bible, you would understand the main theme of the book is the great and terrible Day of the Lord. He surveys the terrible event that happed recently in the history of Judah in a retrospective way. The severe and destructive locust plague was a judgment of God upon the sins and disobedience of His people. Their moral, social and spiritual deterioration was partly due to the prosperity and luxury and the resultant lack of fear and gratitude toward the living God in heaven. He used the recent bad events to explain the coming more terrible day of judgment when God would deal in special with the nation Israel who rejected the savior of the whole world who came as a fulfillment of the prophecies of the Bible and in general with the wickedness and sinful lifestyle of the people of the whole world.
Joel asks the question has anything like this happened in your days or in your father’s days? Go ahead and speak to your children about it. Then let your children tell their children and their children to the next children to come. This is what they should inform about devastation and disaster caused by the locusts. “What the chewing locust has left, the flying locust has eaten. What the flying locust has left, the jumping locust has eaten. And what the jumping locust has left, the destroying locust has eaten”. (1:4) Locust plague completely destroyed harvest, fruits, vegetables, fruit trees. A severe recession because the economy came to a standstill. The food channels and supply channels were cut off before their eyes (1:16). The gladness and joy of the House of The Lord were also cut off (1:16), the stores and stores house was dried up (17) and barns were barren. Consequently, the joy of the people dried up (1:12©).
God seeks true worshippers who worship God in spirit and truth. (John 4:23). Mere external conformity and worship with no brokenness or change inside would not cut it. They used to rend their outward garments to show forth their piety. However, God asks to rend their heart not the clothes. (2:13). God says “let the priests and the Lord’s ministers weep between the porch and the altar.”
Lord calls His people and says, “Yet even now, return to Me with all your heart, crying in sorrow and eating no food. Tear your heart and not our clothes. The prophet of the Lord says, “return to the Lord your God, for He is full of loving-kindness and loving pity. He is slow to anger, full of love, and ready to keep His punishment from you. It may be that He will turn and have pity, and leave good behind for you.” What a terrible reminder to all of us when we face God’s worldwide judgment on sins and rebelliousness ? The day of the Lord can have multi fulfillments. Joel the prophet talked in retrospect about God’s judgment over the sins of His people in 586 BC. It had other fulfillment also like the one in AD 70 and later in history. However, all these would be much smaller when compared to the great and terrible Day of the Judgment coming in the near future. Joel uses the locust judgments in a prospective way to illustrate the coming terrible world wide judgment of God. The events that would happen just prior to the coming terrible judgment are explained in chapter 2 especially in verses 28-32.
However, the call of the Lord and His offer of grace and forgiveness should not fall on deaf ears. The sad consequences of God’s judgment that we face now are no comparison to the terrible Day of the Judgement coming on the whole earth in the near future. God loves you and He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die in your place for all of your sins and shortcomings. The future terrible day of the judgment would be based on what individuals and nations have done in response to the indescribable gift of Jesus Christ God gave for the remission of sins and eternal life. He says in 3:32, “whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered.”
Bible says in Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Then it says in verse 11 that “whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will not be disappointed” and “whoever will call upon the name of the LORD will be saved.” 10:13.
Through these worldwide incidents God talks to us – call upon the name of the Lord Jesus to be delivered from the coming severe and terrible judgment of God. Would you listen and call the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?
“I understand the day of judgment may have multi fulfillments. Whatever judgement of God we face now due to people’s sins and rebelliousness to Him is no comparison to the coming judgment of God. The terrible judgment of God on the whole world who rejects the only savior of the world – Jesus Christ. I know you said whoever calls upon the name of the LORD will be saved from that great and terrible judgment and they will never be disappointed. I call upon the name of Jesus Christ for deliverance and eternal life with you in heaven. I believe Jesus died and rose again to save me from my sins and short comings. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.”