Blow the trumpet in Zion;
    sound the alarm on my holy hill.

Let all who live in the land tremble,
    for the day of the Lord is coming.
It is close at hand—
    a day of darkness and gloom,
    a day of clouds and blackness.
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
    a large and mighty army comes,
such as never was in ancient times
    nor ever will be in ages to come.

Before them fire devours,
    behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
    behind them, a desert waste—
    nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses;
    they gallop along like cavalry.
With a noise like that of chariots
    they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
    like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

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.

10 Before them the earth shakes,
    the heavens tremble,
the sun and moon are darkened,
    and the stars no longer shine.
11 The Lord thunders
    at the head of his army;
his forces are beyond number,
    and mighty is the army that obeys his command.

The day of the Lord is great;
    it is dreadful.
    Who can endure it?

In an introduction to Joel in ‘With the Word’ Warren Wiersbe writes:

‘God’s ”army” of locusts (2:11, 20, 25) was but a picture of a future army that would invade the land in the last days. Joel called the nation to repent (2:12-17) and promised that the Lord would forgive and bless them (2:18-27). He also promised blessings in the last days when Israel’s tribulation would be ended (2:28-32; 3:18-21). God’s message of judgment is not without a promise of hope’ (p.578).

G. Campbell Morgan wrote: ‘It is always the day of the Lord.’ Whatever calamities may befall people and nations, God is ultimately in control, and these things remind us of the greater judgment (the Day of the Lord ) yet to come.

Some people also see, in verses 2-11 in particular, an ideal picture of a united and victorious church, irresistible in strength, under the Headship of God. Perhaps the key thought for us here is that ‘He is Lord.’