JOEL 1:14


The Bible says in Joel 1:14, “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.” In the verses leading up to this one the book of Joel is telling the Israelites that judgment is coming because of how many sins they had committed and how far they had gone away from the Lord. And because they had not returned to the Lord. Believers must always guard their hearts and make sure that they turn to the Lord on a regular basis. This verse, Joel 1:14, tells the Israelites what needs to be done to fix their terrible spiritual condition. First it says, “Sanctify ye a fast.” “To sanctify” means to make holy, or to separate, or to set apart. Turning to the Lord involves making a conscious decision to turn away from sin. “A fast” involved a time of not eating any food. This symbolized the person’s desire to emphasize his spiritual needs as opposed to his physical needs. Turning to the Lord has to be a priority in someone’s life, or it will not happen.


Notice in Joel 1:14 that God said to gather “all the inhabitants of the land.” The reason that judgment was coming on the entire nation of Israel was because of how wicked most people had become. In order for the nation to be healed and to avoid the coming judgment, many people had to turn to the Lord. They needed a national revival. Without such a widespread spiritual revival that involved the masses turning to the Lord, their nation was doomed. Let’s assume that they did “sanctify a fast,” “call a solemn assembly,” and “gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land,” then there was still one very important thing for them to do: “cry unto the LORD.” If a person wants to turn from their sins, and if they realize how great are their current spiritual needs, and they know that their only hope is the mercy of God, then they will cry unto the Lord Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness. That is exactly what it takes to be saved: to turn from sin and turn to the Lord Jesus and call out to Him. That is why it says in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved.”


The Bible says in Joel 1:15, “Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.” The phrase “the day of the LORD” is a key phrase in Bible prophecy. We see it used here in the Old Testament in reference to what would happen to the nation of Israel. And then we also see the phrase “the day of the LORD” used in reference to what will happen to the entire earth when The Lord Jesus comes to bring judgment to all nations. For example, it says in First Thessalonians 5:2-3, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.[3] For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.


The Bible says in Joel 1:15-20, “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.” Once again in these verses the Israelites are being told how terrible the judgment will be that is coming upon them unless they repent soon. That is also the message of the Gospel of Christ. Yes, the word Gospel means “good news,” but anyone who does not accept the good news will have only bad news. The bad news concerning your eternal destiny is that there is a holy God who will judge sin, and you are a sinner, and there is a hell. Some terrible things are in your future unless you turn to Christ who loves you. Look at the negative words used to describe the future of the Israelites:  meat cut off,” “seed is rotten,” “garners are laid desolate,” “barns are broken down,” “the corn is withered,” “the beasts groan,” “cattle are perplexed,” “sheep are made desolate,” “waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured.


Joel 1:19 shows us the proper response that a person should have once they are told that judgment is coming. It says, “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.” Fire in judgment symbolizes the fires of hell. Jesus taught that there is a hell. Jesus said in Luke 16:22-23, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;[23] And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 


The Bible says in Joel 2:1-2, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;[2] A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.” This is the second time that Joel uses the phrase “the day of the Lord.” The last chapter of the Old Testament refers to this event. It says in Malachi 4:5, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:” Acts also refers to this event and says in Acts 2:20, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:” The word “darkness” is used to describe the “day of the Lord” to symbolize the doom and destruction and judgment that will come in that day. It will be a day when God’s dealings with the earth will change. Right now we are in the age of grace when Jesus’ blessings fall on everyone. It is a time when light and truth shine down from the Father of Lights. But the Father is also Judge. And the day of judgment is coming when the light will be replaced by darkness. It will be the greatest judgment ever brought upon the earth. That is why it says in Joel 2:2, “there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it.


The Bible says in Joel 2:3-9, “A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.[4] The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.[5] Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.[6] Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.[7] They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:[8] Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.[9] They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.” This description of war and destruction through war depicts what happened to Israel when the Assyrians and Babylonians conquered them, and also depicts the wartime situation that will exist in the last days. We are told are “the day of the Lord,” and then we are told about invading armies that cannot be stopped by the attempts of man to defend themselves. Believers understand this message. We know that the Lord Jesus is our defense and our Helper. One of the main reasons that there will be so much death during the Great Tribulation is that it will be a time of war. It says in Revelation 6:8, “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” The final great battle at the end of the Great Tribulation will be when the armies of the world will swarm into Israel and Palestine. It is called the Battle of Armageddon. The end of that battle is described in Revelation 19:11-21, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.[12] His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.[13] And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.[14] And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.[15] And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.[16] And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.[17] And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;[18] That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.[19] And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.[20] And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.[21] And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.


The Bible says in Joel 2:10-17, “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:[11] And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?[12] Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:[13] And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.[14] Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?[15] Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:[16] Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.[17] Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” The first two verses of this passage tell us two important details about the day of the Lord. The first is that there will be great darkness over the earth, perhaps because of clouds or smoke that will be in the atmosphere. The second detail is that the army of the Lord shall come. As we saw in the passage from revelation chapter 19, this army will be led by Jesus. Notice the phrase in Joel 2:11 that talks about the strength of the army of the Lord. It says, “for he is strong that executeth his word.” Strength comes from the Word of God. There are different types of strength. Spiritual strength is the most important type. It comes from the Lord Jesus and from His Word. It says in Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”


After telling us in Joel 2:10-11 that the day of the Lord is coming as a day of judgment on the earth, the Word of God gives us several verses telling us that we can turn to the Lord and He will still be merciful to us. It says about the Lord in Joel 2:13, “he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” Of course, there is a condition to obtaining the mercy of Christ. It is given in Joel 2:12-13, “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:[13] And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God.” The key phrase is “with all your heart.” Turn to the Lord Jesus with such a desire and He will meet you and receive you.



Copyright; 2014 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved