Joel 2:1-2 – “Blow 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 is coming, for it is at hand: 2 A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations.” NKJV
This chorus sung in church or used to be sung in the churches developed from this passage has always troubled me. That is because the song seems to advance the idea that this army was a good army when in fact it is an army of judgment. Joel began his prophetic warning with SOUND THE ALARM and “… let the inhabitants of the land TREMBLE…” That sounds like a bad day, not a good day but that depends on your view.
The described events were terrible, and the army described vicious and powerful and NOTHING escaped them. Before them, people writhe in pain. They are fierce and provide an almost invincible force to be reckoned with. They are disciplined and the weapons coming against them are woefully ineffective. They overcome the cities and ravish the houses like thieves. In fact, they are so many and powerful the whole earth trembles at their presence. They darken the sun and moon with their number and the stars grow dim as a result of their presence.
Are they the Army of the Lord? Yes, the Army of God’s Judgment. This speaks of a terrible Day of the Lord in which God brings judgment to a people. I have many Christian friends who live with a mentality of escapism. They live with the hope and belief that they will face nothing bad and Jesus will rescue them as the western cavalry arriving in the nick of time to save the day. I believe God’s word but ask, “What if God does not take us out before some judgment occurs?” The greatest problem I have with escapism is it provides a platform for the devil to present a similar argument as he did to Adam and Eve in the Garden, “Has God said?”
In this warning by Joel, the word of the Lord also gives a call to repentance. There is the call to blow the trumpet in Zion and call a fast and a prayer gathering. It is a call to brokenness and weeping before the LORD that He spare us. It provides a hope that if we realize our condition as a people and rend our hearts before Him there is hope. The terribleness of God’s judgment is beyond human comprehension. No wonder Hebrews 10:31 tells us that it is a ‘terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.”
Jesus is coming back for us, He said He would. Will we face perilous times? The Bible warns us that the Last Days are just that. I have had people tell me they are willing to run up financial obligations because Jesus is coming, and they are only taking from the devil in creating obligations they cannot and will not pay. There is so much wrong with that view it time won’t permit me to address it but suffice it to say we must live soberly and righteously at all times. If we are translated and allowed to avoid the judgments coming that is wonderful. If we become martyrs and die at the hands of those who hate God and the things of God that is honorable. If we endure to the end, we will be saved.
I believe that we are living at the beginning of the Last Days, and if Jesus tarries His coming, we will face persecution beyond anything we have imagined here in America. Some of us will be martyred for Christ and some will have their hope severely tested. Therefore, it is imperative that we hear and heed the Alarm being sounded and make 2 Chronicles 7:14 a cornerstone. If we have run with the footmen and they have wearied us what will we do when horses come?
God bless you as you go through this day!