3. God Will Answer - v. 18-27
Here we have such a beautiful statement from God of what He will do IF they return to Him. It is obvious that they never did return to God because of what happened to the people of Israel and Judah. But…
If they had God would take pity on them and He would do all that is in this section including:
He would replenish the grain and wine
He would drive the invading army away and even the stench from the death that would come. (I think this is a reference to the locusts and the death of all of them that were in the land and that he would take those that were alive and drive them with the wind into the seas. Also, this could possibly be a reference to the upcoming invasion of the armies that were to take over the land of God, as well.)
“Just as He blew the locusts into the depths of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea (eastern and western seas), so He could drive the invading army out of the land. In one night, God killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, and Sennacherib went home a defeated king (Isa. 37:36-38). The corpses must have created quite a stench before they were buried.”(BEC - OT) Was Joel referring to this incident in the future where God, for a time, protected Jerusalem from the Assyrians? Maybe!
(Let me share one more aside. King Hezekiah was on the verge of being overrun by Sennachrib, King of Assyria, but Hezekiah called on the name of the Lord God and prayed and sought Him for safety while in the Temple of the Lord. And God heard his prayer and then delivered Jerusalem from Sennacherib by killing 185,000 soldiers of his army while they slept right outside the walls of the Holy City. Here we have a great example that if the people of God will repent and trust God that He, the Lord will deliver them, even to do it miraculously.)
The land would again become green and pastures and vines would flourish.
The rains would come again and the grain would be ready and overflowing in abundance.
God would repay the nation back for all that it lost during the locusts invasion.
25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— (One of the most quoted verses by preachers regarding repentance from sin.)
"You cannot have back your time," said Charles Spurgeon, "but there is a strange and wonderful way in which God can give back to you the wasted blessings, the unripened fruits of years over which you mourned.... It is a pity that they should have been locust-eaten by your folly and negligence; but if they have been so, be not hopeless concerning them."
There would be lots to eat and people would then praise God.
Never again would God‘s people be put to shame. (How could God say that? In fact, He said it three times in these verses that have to do with the people repenting.) Let me be clear. God told them that He would never again put them to shame or that they would ever be put to shame again, if and only if, they repented and did what God required. It is obvious that in only this one occasion above with King Hezekiah, did God keep them from being shamed and from reading the history of the Jews that it seems that was the only time because their history tells another story. They were to endure shame from many nations and throughout the centuries because of their sin and their rebellion against God. Think of the exile, the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, and the loss of lives and lives taken in slavery then, and then the constant harssment of the Jews for centuries, and finally the Houlacost of the 20th century. Even today, there is intimidation and disapproval of the Jews and great anti-Semitic actions for all kinds of reasons, from so many nations and people.
In my opinion the Jews were given an opportunity not only by the prophet Joel but numbers of God’s prophets to repent and turn from their sin against God but they did not, with the exception of the Hezekiah experience. Look at what they did to Jesus, the coming Messiah of the Jews, whom they waited for and believed in even in the Jewish religion today, they turned from Him and for their own selfish purposes chose, as leaders of the Jews, to condemn Him to death, the death of the cross.
BUT God, in His infinite wisdom used them to bring to all the world, not just to the Jews, His plan for eternal life whereby ANYONE, all people, could have eternal life through the cross of Jesus by repentance of their individual sin and have forgiveness and then be given by grace everlasting life with God our Father forever.