2. Respond with Repentance to God’s Judgment - v. 13-20
There is hope in Joel’s words from God. HOPE is available! True repentance is turning from your sin and sinful ways and turning to God seeking forgiveness and cleansing. Our hope is that He will do what He says and will cleanse us and bring peace to the land and to our hearts.
He first speaks to the priests! They are to:
*mourn and put on sackcloth, wail before the Lord, at His altar.
(Joel says, “Come, spend the night in sackcloth.”)
*declare a holy fast
*call a sacred assembly.
God calls the spiritual leadership first to mourn and get right before the Lord, turning themselves away from sin and turning toward God. Why do you think that God calls the spiritual leadership to do that first?
I think that God desires that spiritual leaders get right before Him because without them the overall nation will ignore what God wants. If their priests are not involved and lead the way why would the people repent.
Joel then writes, God instructs the priests to declare a holy fast. What is a holy fast? “A fast was a period of time when no food was eaten and people approached God with humility, sorrow for sin, and urgent prayer.” (LAB) The holy fast was to show one’s willingness to repent of the sins of their life and to express to the Lord God that the nation was seeking forgiveness.
And, the priests were to call for a sacred assembly. That assembly was to have all the people come together as a public demonstration of repentance and to pray for the mercy of God to be given to His children. Joel said everyone was to come to the sacred assembly including elders and they all were to cry out to the Lord for His forgiveness.
Joel wants the people to understand that if they don’t call out and repent at the urging of the Lord by sending the locusts, then maybe “The Day of the Lord” will then come. Joel wanted them to understand how serious this was and that they should respond now with this urging from God’s judgment using the locusts.
It seems like before the people could come together to repent, that Joel was calling for the fires to devour the fields, pastures and trees. The punishment for sin is truly great and if the people refuse to immediately respond then God will continue to bring upon the people, His judgment.
Joel is seeking to help the people of God to realize that they must turn and repent from their sins or they will experience something so much worse than the plague of locusts they were experiencing. He called it The Day of The Lord.