By now all of us are familiar with the sound of sirens going out during nighttime to signify that it is now curfew time. Those who violated the curfew are penalized in different ways.
In Joel 2, there is a special kind of siren. It says, “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.” God was telling the Prophet Joel about an apocalyptic event — “the day of the Lord” or better known as Judgment Day. On this day all will make an account before God.
Joel 2:6 to 9 speaks about the situation before Judgment Day — “At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale. They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks. They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves, they enter through the windows.”
We do not want to speculate what it is. Some say that it is the description of the COVID-19 coronavirus that is spreading now. You may see it that way if you want to. The point of Prophet Joel is there will be a Judgment Day. If this is it, then what should we do?
God is the one who instructed Prophet Joel on what should we do. Here are God’s instructions:
First, return to the Lord with all your heart with fasting and weeping and mourning (Joel 2:12). We must cry hard and confess our shortcomings.
Second, we must rend our hearts and not our garments (Joel 2:13). Our confession and repentance must be real and not ritualistic.
Third, we must gather the people, consecrate ourselves and worship God (Joel 2:15 to 16). We may not do it physically now because of the Community Enhanced Quarantine but we can do so online. The quarantine may be an impediment but it should not stop us in doing Bible Study as a family, and also online with the local church in which we belong to.
Fourth, let those who minister before the Lord lead us in crying for mercy (Joel 2:17). Let this be the time that our spiritual leaders will rise up and lead the people to repentance and worship the one true God.
Prophet Joel wrote that when we do this, “Who knows? God may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing” (Joel 2:14). Why? Because “the Lord our God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Joel 2:13b).
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on