Repentance needed for revivalThe prophet Joel shares a vision of ruin, a call to repentance and a glorious promise of restoration in this brief prophecy about the coming “day of the Lord.” The nation of Judah has wandered. Using a locust plague as an object lesson of God’s impending judgment, Joel urges the people of Judah to repent turn back to God and find hope for the future.
Joel tempers his frightening words about god’s dreadful and unavoidable punishment with words that inspire repentance because of the promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all people (Joel 1-2). Joel assures his readers that God’s power is unlimited and that God’s forgiveness is always available. Even if catastrophe and calamity come because of sin, Joel promises that repentance will bring restoration and such joy that sorrow and pain will be more than made up for (Joel 2).
Joel’s appeal for a change of heart touches us deeply. Judah’s example exposes our own tendency to wander away from God when life seems to be going well, when affluence, friends and family surround us. Joel reminds us that close relationship with God is vital in both good time and bad. God loves us so much that he will use whatever he can to get our attention and bring us closer to him- even a plague of locusts.