Those who will not be aroused out of their security by the Word of God will finally be aroused by His rod,
for He has the meanest of His creatures at His command,
and if He pleases can humble and mortify a rebellious people by the most contemptible creatures.
Even locusts become as lions when armed with a divine commission.
1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.
5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.
8 ¶ Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD’S ministers, mourn.
10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
14 ¶ Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
19 O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Joel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Joel 1 – 2:11 – A Summons to Penitence.
We know nothing of Joel beyond this book. He was content to be God’s mouthpiece and remain unknown. His message was one of unparalleled woe. The memory of God’s loving kindness ought to have kept his people faithful and loyal, but since grace and love had failed to affect them awful judgments were announced. A small insect, the locust, was to prostrate man’s boasted power. The 4 kinds of locusts here described and which doubtless devastated the country, were also symbols of the 4 world-empires, Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome, which were to lay waste the Holy Land. Such judgments call for acts of repentance, such as fasting, humiliation, and intercession. There are days in national experience when it becomes us to gird ourselves and lament. The ministers and elders of the Church should lead the way. Where there has been infidelity to the great Lover of souls, when the visible Church or the individual member has turned from Christ to the wanton world, then joy withers away (v. 12), spiritual worship ceases (v. 9), and there can be neither peace nor safety until there has been repentance and return. (Meyer)
Joel 1:14—Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders, and cry unto the LORD.
It was a terrible invasion. The locusts had lighted down upon the land of Israel; so that the seeds rotted under the clods; garners were desolate; the barns were broken down. Despair took hold of the husbandman; and the herds and flocks panted out their anguish. At this juncture the prophet called for a national fast.
Whenever our life is visited by special trials and perplexities, we should withdraw ourselves from common pursuits, and lay bare our heart-secrets, so that we may learn the cause of God’s controversy with us. There is a reason and a needs-be; because He does not afflict willingly, or grieve the children of men.
From time to time a call for prayer has issued from the hearts of men closest in touch with heaven. In the middle of the eighteenth century Jonathan Edwards issued such an appeal; and this led to that union of prayer, which played so significant a part in the origination of the great missionary societies. It was notably the effect of that appeal on Sutcliffe, Rylands, Fuller, and Carey, that led to the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society at the close of the 18th century.
It may be that a wave of prayer is again about to break over the Church. There are many signs of it. We hear Christian people saying on all hands that they want to get back to God; and surely it would be one of the most significant signs of the unity of the Church and the power of the Holy Spirit, if such a prayer wave were to lift us all on to a new level of intercession for the Church of God and the world around us. We need not wait for the Church to appoint. (Meyer)