Israel had just experienced an unprecedented calamity – total destruction of all crops and green things by locusts (v.4). No one had ever seen or heard of anything as devastating (v.2-3).
The instruction of this chapter is for the people from all levels to take time to mourn and to cry out to the Lord.
- Drunkards are told to wake up, to weep, and to howl because all wine has been cut off and every vine is made bare (v.5-7).
- They are told to lament because the land has been totally wasted, there is nothing with which to make sacrifices, and they are like a young woman whose husband has died (v.8-10).
- The farmers are to be ashamed and to howl because all the trees have withered and so has their joy (v.11-12).
- The priests are to dress in sackcloth all day and night, to proclaim a solemn fast and to lead the people in a meeting to cry out to the Lord (v.13-14).
- What is happening is like the day of God’s judgment (v.15). Everything has been affected, and Joel joins in the cry unto the Lord (v.16-20).
When national tragedy strikes, we should stop and cry out to God. When personal problems arise, we should take time to cry out to God.
So often, we have a dismissive and flippant attitude toward God’s direction and the circumstances of life. We should take time to consider what is going on in and around us and seek the Lord through all of it.
When we know that God is chastening us for our sin, we should stop and confess, and mourn, and be broken over our sin. We should really ponder what led to God’s chastening and take time to “cry out to the Lord!”