Joel’s prophecy paints a picture of the Mighty Hand of God. He also calls for the only appropriate response by mankind: Repentance.
In the past (and present), when the people of God would rebel, He would place them in a state of hardship and persecution, calling them to turn back to Him. The appropriate response at these times has been lamentation. To humble ourselves and confess our wrongs. To regret earnestly the wrongs we have done and to mourn the time we have spent away from God. We were called to act as one in mourning until we are fully restored to God, something we do not have the power to do (to cast off our oppressors), but that through our acts of attrition God would see our desire to return to Him.
In Joel 1, he addresses this time and state. But, in chapter 2, looking forward to the level of things during the Day of our Lord, this is insufficient and But Joel cuts deeper than most prophets and preachers in his definition of repentance. He says, in 2:13, “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
In the days to come, it is not a show of repentance, but it must be fully of the heart. Don’t tear your clothing as one in mourning, but feel the tear at your heart for the time you have spent away from Him and causing devastation in the world He created.
We think of the spiritual and physical worlds as being separate, but both are creations of God. We understand at some level that they cross with each other and that both are completely real in their own ways. We do not understand the interconnection, but we know that God was in flesh, that God’s spirit is real and present, and that God intervenes in every moment of every day. In the same way, our spiritual actions also impact and permeate the physical world. There are obvious ways, such as pollution and environmental damage, But, there are less obvious ways as well – Sin has permeated throughout creation. In the same way that a carpenter would remove rotted wood or dig out a weak foundation – the creator of the Universe will root out the evil that has permeated His creation so that everything can be made new again.
Sin cannot go unpunished and sin has permeated the entire world
Through the restitution paid by Jesus who paid the price for my sin through his blood and death on the cross and his defeat of death through his resurrection and ascension to heaven
return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning, rend your heart (not your garments), return to the Lord, Gather the people, consecrate the assembly, bring together the elders, gather the children.. call out to the LORD
gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, relents in sending calamity
Jealous for his land and took pity on his people, “I am sending… ” provision, peace, protection, separation from sin – do not be afraid
Rebel, Repent, Restore – During times of rebellion, God would allow oppression and persecution (often by foreign hands) to bring His people to a state of repentance then he would send a judge (book of judges) to either encourage them to repent and/or restore them when they had repented