You’re right this is the title of a Christmas song, one of my favorites, in fact. But this time it’s not a song that’s heard. It’s a cry. This time it doesn’t herald the first coming of the Lord Jesus. It sounds an alarm for the plague of locusts Israel suffered under. The locusts have left them with little food and drought has brought their economy to a standstill.*
“The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel.
Hear this, O elders, and listen,
all inhabitants of the land.
Has anything like this happened in your days
or in your fathers’ days?”
(Joel 1:1-2, NASB)
Does that cry not sound like the cry traveling through our land, throughout the world? But Joel doesn’t stop with what has happened. He gives Israel and us a preview of what’s yet to come.
“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;
- 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.” Joel 2:1,2.
Bad news and more bad news. Frightened people. What are we to do? What Joel told Israel is a good word for God’s people today. You notice I didn’t say the people of the world but the people of the kingdom of God. If we unite as the one Christ has made us to be, the world will see who the Lord is. The hope we have will be a hope they will receive. So, what did Joel say?
- “Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests:
- howl, ye ministers of the altar:
- come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God..
- 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.
- Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.” Joel 1:13-15.
Sound a bit drastic? As is said, “drastic times call for drastic measures.” Will the Lord hear the cry of His people? Keep in mind we are not Israel but we are His people.
“Therefore also now, saith the LORD,
turn ye even to me with all your heart,
and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
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…
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation…
Then will the LORD be jealous for his land,
and pity his people.
Yea, the LORD will answer…”
Joel 2:12-13,16,18, 19
Jesus Christ goes before us having opened the throne room to His people.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold fast our profession…Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14,16.
I would say we are in a time of need, wouldn’t you? We have access to the very throne of God. Let’s use it.
Jesus Christ is our path to the full blessing of God. Joel proclaimed His day of blessing.
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh;
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids
in those days will I pour out my spirit.”
Jesus spoke of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and the joy it would bring.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth:
it is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you…
Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name,
he will give it you.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name:
ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
Peter testified to that day when the Holy Spirit was first poured out upon them.
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said unto them…
hearken to my words;
For these are not drunken, as ye suppose,
seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LAST DAYS, SAITH GOD, I WILL POUR OUT OF MY SPIRIT UPON ALL FLESH…AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.”
(Taken from Acts 2:14-21. The whole prophecy is recorded there.)
In case you think this promise applies only to Israel, Peter clears that mistaken idea when he says,
“For the promise is unto you,
and to your children,
and to all that are afar off,
even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Church do you hear what I hear?
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour:
therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
And that, knowing the time,
that now it is high time to awake out of sleep:
for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand;
let us therefore cast off the works of darkness,
and let us put on the armour of light.
Let us walk honestly, as in the day;
not in rioting and drunkenness,
not in chambering and wantonness,
not in strife and envying.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make not provision for the flesh,
to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
God in His wisdom chose for the church to bear His glory to a lost world. It’s high time we come,
“in unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the son of God,
unto a perfect man,
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…
speaking the truth in love…”
For as Joel put it there are,
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:
for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.”
Church, do you hear what I hear?
People are crying and don’t know where to turn. We have the answer. We are the voice of the Lord. May we with meekness, respect, and love speak His truth.
*Information taken from the King James Open Study Bible.