v13: Gird yourselves: Remove their normal clothes in order to put on sackcloth (it’s not “business as usual”. A change is needed)
The people are not interested in worshipping G-d. Nor do they desire to give thanks to Him. This tells us what the spiritual condition of Israel will be like in the last days.
v14: Consecrate: Sanctify or proclaim
· A fast: is always accompanied by prayer – ie seeking G-d.
· This word translated “assembly” literally means “to stop”. G-d wanted them to stop whatever they were doing so that they could seek Him.
· Cry out: A word which means to call out, to raise your voice, in great despair.
v15: Alas: This is a word of acknowledgment and discernment. The people realize, based upon the spiritual condition of the land (lack of harvest or fruitfulness), that if there is no change things are going to go from bad to worse.
· The day: The day of the L-rd.
· Destruction from the Almighty: (As a thief): Messiah does NOT come as a thief in the night for believers (1 Thess 5v2-6).
v16: Many rabbinical commentators say that the world is in such dire straits that there is nothing physically available to offer up to G-d. Others look at it differently and say, “G-d’s not blessing, not giving, not ministering, not moving in the world” (ie Spiritual sustenance has been removed – and therefore there is a lack of gladness and joy)
· Joy and gladness: Two words that relate to worship. They are not experiencing the outcome of worship because they are not worshipping G-d as He demands to be worshipped.
v17: G-d caused the people to look at their situation. Everything was in a state of chaos. There was nothing that could be done, in the natural, in order to be fruitful once again (the grain had shrivelled and withered so was unusable)
v18: Even the animals are affected because of this lack of true spiritual worship.
v19: I cry out: Joel, showing true leadership and prophetic discernment, is saying that in the midst of these things we need to call unto the L-rd. When we see these things taking place we do not raise our fist at G-d – like the world does – but we need to realise the need to turn, in repentance, toward G-d, in order that there might be a restoration.
v20: The animals are also going to lament. They have no food or water.
Note: G-d is not sending His judgement as a means to destroy His people. This judgement is a call to repentance, a call to save the people from eternal destruction (Prov 3v12, Heb 12v6-11).