on Joel 2 :14
Who knoweth if he will return - He may yet interpose and turn aside the calamity threatened, and so far preserve the land from these ravagers, that there will be food for men and cattle, and a sufficiency of offerings for the temple service. Therefore: -
on Joel 2 :14
Who knoweth if He will return - God has promised forgiveness of sins and of eternal punishment to those who turn to Him with their whole heart. Of this, then, there could be no doubt. But He has not promised either to individuals or to Churches, that He will remit the temporal punishment which He had threatened. He forgave David the sin. Nathan says, "The Lord also hath put away thy sin." But he said at the same time, "the sword shall never depart from thy house 2 Samuel 12:13, 2 Samuel 12:10; and the temporal punishment of his sin pursued him, even on the bed of death. David thought that the temporal punishment of his sin, in the death of the child, might be remitted to him. He used the same form of words as Joel, "I said, who can tell whether God will be gracious unto me, that the child may live?" 2 Samuel 12:22. But the child died. The king of Nineveh used the like words, "Who can tell if God will return and repent and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not?" Jonah 3:9.
And he was heard. God retained or remitted the temporal punishment, as He saw good for each. This of the prophet Joel is of a mixed character. The "blessing" which they crave, he explains to be "the meat offering and the drink offering," which had been "cut off or withholden" from the house of their God. For "if He gave them wherewith to serve Him," after withdrawing it, it was clear that "He would accept of them and be pleased with their service." Yet this does not imply that He would restore all to them. A Jewish writer notes that after the captivity, "the service of sacrifices alone returned to them," but that "prophecy, (soon after), the ark, the Urim and Thummim, and the other things (the fire from heaven) were missing there." As a pattern, however, to all times, God teaches them to ask first what belongs to His kingdom and His righteousness, and to leave the rest to Him. So long as the means of serving Him were left, there was hope of all. Where the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ (whereof "the meat offering and the drink offering" were symbols) remains, there are "the pledges of His love," the earnest of all other blessing.
He says, "leave a blessing behind Him," speaking of God as one estranged, who had been long absent and who returns, giving tokens of His forgiveness and renewed good-pleasure. God often visits the penitent soul and, by some sweetness with which the soul is bathed, leaves a token of His renewed presence. God is said to repent, not as though He varied in Himself, but because He deals variously with us, as we receive His inspirations and follow His drawings, or no.
on Joel 2 :14
2:14 He will return - God doth not move from one place to another; but when he withholds his blessings, he is said to withdraw himself. And so when he gives out his blessing, he is said to return. And leave a blessing behind him - Cause the locusts to depart before they have eaten up all that is in the land.