Joel is a book that can seem all doom and gloom, but there’s so much hope in his words if we look a bit deeper.
His words reiterate those of other prophets like Zephaniah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. We see swarms of locusts, destruction brought by armies, and of course the dreadful day of the Lord, that is also referenced in Revelation.
In chapter one, Joel is calling Israel to repent and warning of God’s impending judgment. There’s no need to call out specific sins of Israel–they know, and Joel knew.
In chapter 2, Joel urges the people to return to the Lord with all their heart. He says in chapter 2 verse 13, “[…] return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, […]”.
Through the doom, gloom, and devastation we see God’s heart beating for His people. God is gracious. God is merciful. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love for His people.
We also see God taking pity on His people (Joel 2:18). He then restores to them what was destroyed (Joe 2:15), and makes a promise that one day He will pour out His spirit on His people (Joel 2:28). He then says that anyone who called on His name would be saved (Joel 2:32).
Yes, there is an immediate promise to the people of Israel, but these statements are also foretelling of Jesus and the salvation He offers.
Sin messed everything up–it’s devastated the world. Yet, God desires to show mercy to those who confess, and anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. One day, He will make all things new. The day of the Lord is coming–and it’s not all doom and gloom.