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The Day of the Lord

July 4, 2018

To you, O Lord, I call. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flame has burned all the trees of the field. Joel 1:19

From Joel 1:19 onward, we have a new and different picture. Locusts ate the vegetation; they did not burn it. So Joel is moving beyond the disastrous epidemic that ruined the crops to speak about something else. “The day of the Lord is coming; it is near” (2:1).

Joel describes a vast army moving into the land. Like the plague of locusts, this army sweeps across the land burning everything in its path: “Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them” (2:3).

The effect of this army on the people is sheer terror: “Before them peoples are in anguish; all faces grow pale” (2:6). It’s not just the people who are terrified. On the day of the Lord, the “earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining” (2:10).

The day of the locust disaster led Joel to speak about the day of the Lord: “The Lord utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; who can endure it?” (2:11).

Locusts are capable of causing a national disaster, so how would we ever endure it if God were our enemy? In the light of the day of the Lord, God calls his people to repent: “Yet even now… return to me with all your heart” (2:12).

As you consider the day of the Lord, why do you think repentance might be an appropriate response?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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