The first part of Joel 2 talks about the coming day of the Lord, says that it is “great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (KJV). But I love how it switches gears in the twelfth verse.
Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.Joel 2:12-13 (KJV)
I love how, oftentimes in the Bible, it’ll be sad and depressing and scary–then all of a sudden, there’s a promise, a ray of hope, an opportunity for a second chance (or a one thousandth chance).
Here, God’s saying that when He comes, it’ll be. . . I don’t want to say “bad”, but that’s the only word I can think of. It’s bad in the sense that there’ll be desolation and fear and an attacking army and stuff like that.
But then He offers hope. He says, “Turn to Me, truly repent; I am gracious, merciful, slow to anger, greatly kind, and I don’t enjoy hurting you.”
Joel tells the people to gather together, to fast and mourn and beg God for mercy. “Then,” verse 18 declares, “will the Lord…pity his people.” (KJV)
It goes on to give the promise of deliverance, and more than that, restoration. The rain will water the earth, food will be plenteous, and God’s people will rejoice again and not be ashamed.
…whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered…Joel 2:32 (KJV)