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Chapter 1 - Joel 2:32

Chapter 1

Joel 2:32

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (Joel 2:32)

Calling on the name of the LORD concerns our salvation. Ever since the beginning of Genesis, people have been calling on the name of the LORD (Gen 4:26). From generation to generation, people like Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Aaron, Samuel, David, Elijah, Jonah, the Psalmists and the prophets habitually called on the name of the LORD (Gen 12:8; 13:4; 21:33; 26:25; 1Sam 12:18; 1Ki 18:24; 1Chr 21:26; Psa 88:9; Psa 99:6; 116:4, 13, 17; Jonah 2:2; Lam 3:55 etc.; though cp. Gen 12:8 and Exo 6:3). Calling on the name of the LORD is a vast subject that deals with the spiritual discipline of prayer life as well as the proclamation of the Name. In this book, we will only be able to scrape the surface of what it means to call on the name of the LORD. At the very least, we can make an initial start in calling on the name of the LORD since our salvation is a result of such a call.

The “LORD” in small capitals signifies that the original word in the Hebrew Bible is יהוה (YHWH). YHWH is God’s name. Our God is a personal God with a Name.

The text for Joel 2:32 should be rendered: “Everyone who calls on the name of YHWH will be saved.” YHWH in its full written form is Yahweh.[1]

Take note of the specific wording: “Everyone who calls on the name of YHWH”. The text doesn’t say to call on “God,” which is a generic term, but specifically to call on “Yahweh” for our salvation. God and Lord are titles but they are not names. Yahweh is the name of the one true God whom we call on.

In the name of Yahweh, we have salvation. Salvation is in Yahweh. We call on Yahweh, for Yahweh is the One who saves us.

When I call on Yahweh, I witness God’s saving power in action.

YHWH – A Key Word in Joel

In the book of Joel, God’s name יהוה occurs 33 times.[2] In Old Testament times, the people of God knew God by His personal Name. Yahweh is not a remote God somewhere out there in the universe, but a personable God whom the Israelites related to in their prayers. When they prayed, they would often address God by His Name.


The book of Joel is Yahweh centered. The name “Yahweh” occurs in all three chapters, with a significant concentration in chapter 2.

Joel begins with the “word of Yahweh” coming to him (1:1). Yahweh has a message to give to His people through the prophet Joel, the son of Pethuel. The book ends with the final words, “Yahweh dwells in Zion” (3:21). From beginning to end, Yahweh is fully present with His people.

The concept of Yahweh as God weaves through the entire book of Joel. The word for God, אלהים (Elohim), occurs 11 times. Sometimes it is found in the phrases “my God” (1:13), or “our God” (1:16), or “their God” (2:17), or “your God” (1:13). Seven times the Name Yahweh is attached to God — “Yahweh your God”. The Israelites knew God personally by His Name, Yahweh.

Significant Words in Joel

We can determine the theme of Joel by doing a thorough word study on all the significant words used in the book. This will give us a bird’s eye view to see the wood for the trees. The following table shows 16 words that occur 10 times or more in Joel.[3]


(1) Putting all the significant words in table format can reveal the major themes of the book of Joel efficiently at one glance. I inserted the Strong’s numbers for those who do not read Hebrew. I have left the cells blank where the word does not occur in that chapter.

(2) For the sake of thoroughness, I even took into account all the usages of conjunct­ions, prepositions, and pronouns in the tabulation even though these words might not carry particular significance in the initial observat­ions. Naturally, these words would occur frequently as they are necessary for proper sentence structure.

(3) The Name YHWH has the highest frequency of 33 occurrences, even above all the conjunctive and prepositional words. Evidently, Yahweh is the focus of attention in Joel.

(4) Nouns often reveal key themes of a book. The major nouns in Joel are: all (16 times), children (15 times), day (13 times), people (13 times), earth (12 times), God (11 times), and nations (10 times).

(5) Verbs are also important for they are action words that often point to life applications. Take note of two verbs, “to be” (11 times) and “devour” (10 times). “To be” is a common verb that is used frequently in sentences, and we should pay particular attention to the tenses used. “Devour” or “eat” has a high frequency of occurrences, and is found mainly in chapters 1 and 2.

The Bible word statistics method, which Pastor Eric H.H. Chang taught us in our full-time training, is a reliable tool for exegetical studies as it leads to conclu­sions objectively and scientifically. (1) Find the key words; (2) look up the definitions of the words in the original language; [4] (3) analyze how and where these words occur in the book; (4) note their emphases; (5) and then interpret them correctly within the context of the passage, the book, and the entire Bible.

As I prayerfully dig into the specific details of the word study, I often get practical insights into applying God’s word to my daily life.

Key phrases in relation to YHWH

  1. The day of YHWH (1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14)
  2. YHWH your God (1:14; 2:13, 14, 23, 26, 27; 3:17)
  3. The house of YHWH (1:9, 14; 3:18)
  4. O YHWH (1:19; 2:17; 3:11)
  5. The ministers of YHWH (1:9; 2:17)

“YHWH your God” (7 times) and “the day of YHWH” (5 times) are the two prominent themes in Joel. The word “day” occurs 13 times in Joel, of which 9 times it refers to the day of Yahweh (1:15, 15; 2:1, 2, 2, 11, 31; 3:14, 18). The day of Yahweh is the key theme of the book of Joel.

Once we know the key theme, we can observe and analyze how the significant words relate to the main subject or to each other.

All [5] the inhabitants, children and people, need to know and learn about the day (1:2-3). The locusts devour their crops so completely that the land is devastated to an extreme crisis. All the trees of the field are burnt and dried up (1:10-12; 19-20). One day, the earth will quake and the heavens will tremble with the cosmic signs of blood and fire. While there is still time to repent, Joel urges the Israelites to return to “Yahweh your God” with all their hearts before the day comes (2:12-13). God has spoken repeatedly to His people, “I am Yahweh, your God” (2:27; 3:17). Yahweh God challenges all the surrounding nations to prepare for war against Him, but the people of God need not fear, for Yahweh dwells in Zion and have not forsaken them (3:21). In a battle crisis, Yahweh is there for them, present in Israel as a refuge and stronghold (3:16-17). Salvation will come to Judah and Jerusalem. By trusting in Yahweh, the Israelites can call out to Yahweh for delive­rance. The day of Yahweh is a day of judgment, but also a day of salvation.

Joel has first-hand experience of God’s salvation for he belongs to the remnant who calls on God’s Name: “To you, O Yahweh, I call.” (1:19).

Call on the Name of YHWH

The word “call” in Hebrew is קָרָא (qara). This verb in the Qal imperfect tense indicates that the action is incomplete; usually the verb is translated either as a present or a future tense. The action of calling is not a one-time event, but a repetitive occurrence of calling on the name of Yahweh.

Qara in Hebrew means “call, utter a loud sound, cry for help, or proclaim” (BDB). The calling is not silent but loud enough to be heard. Praying can be silent but calling must be audible.

Most of us pray quietly in our hearts. Do you pray aloud? We pray out loud when we give thanks before meals or in prayer meetings. What about when you are alone at home, do you pray aloud? Calling on the name of God is expressed audibly. Come before God with a pure heart and pray aloud. Repent of your sins and focus sharply on Yahweh God to call His Name. Yahweh answers.

1. Acknowledge that YHWH is your God

Not everyone can call on the Name of Yahweh. To call on the Name of Yahweh, you must acknowledge that Yahweh is God. The name “Joel” means “Yahweh is God”. This is an honorable name. Many parents like to choose the name Joel for their children. Joel is a prophet who knows Yahweh intimately as his God.

Is Yahweh your God? Sadly, most Christians today do not recognize Yahweh as their God. If Yahweh is not your God, how would it benefit you to call on the Name, Yahweh?

(1) “I am Yahweh your God” — spoken by Yahweh

Joel 2:27 “You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am Yahweh your God, and there is none else.” (ESV, Yahweh restored and italics added)

Joel 3:17 “So you shall know that I am Yahweh your God who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain.” (ESV, Yahweh restored and italics added)

Here are some points that can be developed progressively:

  1. “I am Yahweh”. The first thing God wants to draw your attention to is that God has a Name, and His Name is Yahweh. God is Yahweh.
  2. “I am Yahweh your God”. Acknowledge Yahweh as your God before you call on Yahweh.
  3. “I am Yahweh your God” occurs more than 30 times in the Old Testament. It is a personal message that God often gives to His people. The first time God spoke these words was to the Israelites when He delivered them from the bondage under the Egyptians (Exod 6:7). Know that Yahweh is a personable God who truly cares for you as He did for the Israelites.
  4. “I am Yahweh your God and there is none else” in Joel 2:27. There is only one God. In the significant event of the giving of the Ten Commandments, God says: “I am Yahweh your God,” and then “you shall have no other gods before me” is the first command­ment (Exod 20:2-3). Yahweh God warns against idolatry. “There is none else” means that there is no other god that is equal to Yahweh or besides Him. (Deu 4:35, 39; Isa 45:5, 6, 14, 18, 21, 22; 46:9). To call on the name Yahweh means that you worship only one God, and the one God is Yahweh.
  5. Yahweh dwells in Zion” is stated twice in Joel (3:17, 21). Yahweh sits enthroned in Zion (Psa 9:11) and His holy mountain will be His dwelling place with His people. “Yahweh is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteous­ness, and He will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of Yahweh is Zion’s treasure.” (Isa 33:5-6). Yahweh dwells among His people and blesses those who fear Him and call on Him. He will grant to them the abundance of salvation.

(2) “Yahweh your God” — spoken by Joel

In speaking directly to the people, Joel is speaking to an audience who truly acknowledge Yahweh as their God. Joel specifically uses the phrase “Yahweh your God” five times: “the house of Yahweh your God” (1:14); “return to Yahweh your God” (2:13); “a grain offering and a drink offer­ing for Yahweh your God” (2:14); “rejoice in Yahweh your God” (2:23); “praise the Name of Yahweh your God who has dealt wondrously with you” (2:26).

The basic foundation of calling on the Name of Yahweh is to know that God’s Name is Yahweh and to acknowledge Yahweh as your God.

2. “O YHWH”

“O YHWH” is found in all three chapters of Joel. Joel calls out to Yahweh and addresses God in prayer.

(1) To you, O YHWH

Joel 1:19-20 To you, O YHWH, I call. For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flame has burned all the trees of the field. Even the beasts of the field pant for you because the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilder­ness. (ESV, YHWH restored and boldface added)


Joel addresses God by His Name. When we want to talk to another person, we would usually call the person’s name, wouldn’t we? Do you address God’s Name when you pray? Calling on the Name of Yahweh is the path to connecting with the living God by faith.

In serving the church, I am often approached by people who tell me they don’t know how to pray. They tell me they are not good with words. A few years ago, an elderly lady in the church told me that she wanted to pray like her pastor. She wanted to know how to compose all these beautiful words. Prayer, first and foremost, is to connect with God through His Name, and then the words will come. If we do not make contact with God first, yet start talking, we have not begun to pray. We would just end up talking to ourselves and not to God.

We make prayer so difficult because we have skipped the initial step of connecting with God through His Name. The problem that Christians face today is that they don’t really know God’s Name and the importance of God’s Name. Visitors coming to our church for the first time often ask us who is Yahweh for they don’t hear the name Yahweh in other churches. Christians may have a lot of inform­ation about God, but Yahweh is foreign to them. Start with a desire to know Yahweh.

To You

“To you” are two small words that can easily go unnoticed, but they are the two most important words when it comes to the direction of prayer. “To you” is to turn your full attention to Yahweh.

In Hebrew, the word אֵלֶ֥יךָ (to you) has the preposition אֵל which can be translated as “towards, into, to”. The proposition denotes “a motion to or a direction towards, whether physical or mental” (BDB). When Joel calls out to Yahweh, he turns his mind towards Yahweh.

(i) To call on the Name of Yahweh, we need to turn our whole attention towards Yahweh. I’ve counseled many Christians who tell me that they have a hard time focusing on God, because as soon as they close their eyes, they are still thinking about their own little world, their needs, their families, their jobs, and their problems. Their minds are very much preoccupied with their own needs when they pray. Their whole being is still turning inward when they pray. The result is that they say a lot of things in their prayers, but it is all a monologue. It is like the Pharisee “praying to himself” in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. To turn towards Yahweh, we must turn away from the “self” and look outward “to You” Yahweh. This is how the Psalmists pray.

Psa 25:1 “To You, O YHWH, I lift up my soul.”

Psa 28:1 “To You, O YHWH, I call”

Psa 30:8 “To You, O YHWH, I cry and to the Lord I plead for mercy.”

Psa 69:13 “As for me, my prayer is to You, O YHWH.”

Psa 142:5 “I cry to You, O YHWH.”

(ii) Joel has his entire focus fixed on “You, Yahweh”. Stop thinking about “I”. Be still and stop striving. Be willing to spend time to quiet your heart before God so that when you pray, it is “You, Yahweh”. This is how great men of God pray.

Psa 9:10 “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for You O YHWH, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Psa 31:14 “I trust in You, O YHWH; I say, You are my God.”

Isa 63:16b “You, O YHWH are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name”

Jer 10:6 “There is none like You, O YHWH, you are great and your name is great in might.”

Spending the needed time to quiet before God is often pushed aside in our busy and fast paced life of Hong Kong. Too many Christians are in a rush to unload their anxieties and problems to God as soon they start to pray. It is all “I”. Change the “I” to “You” Yahweh.

(iii) Be quiet and wait expectantly for “Yahweh”. This principle of waiting is easy to understand but hard to practice. Ponder on the analogy of you calling someone by phone. When you dial the phone to get connected with the other person, you would wait for the person to pick up the phone before you start talking. It would be absurd to start talking to the person before he or she comes to the phone. But this is the sad situation many Christians are in when they pray. They would ramble on without a care of whether God is there or not. They have no time to wait for God in prayer.

(iv) When we call on Yahweh, seek His face.

Psa 27:7-9 “Hear, O YHWH, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My hearts says to you, “Your face, YHWH, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me.” (ESV, YHWH restored)

We cannot see God, so how do we seek after the face of God? The Hebrew word for face is פָּנִים (paniym) often translated as “presence”.

Psa 105:4 “Seek YHWH, and his strength; seek his presence (פָּנִים) continually!” (ESV, YHWH restored)

To seek the face of God is to seek His presence. This is the essence of our Christian life, to live a life that walks with God by seeking His favor and presence. We are to seek God’s face always. This is how we get strengthened in our spiritual life.

When we look intently at someone’s face, there is intimacy. We also get to know the character of the person intimately. In the same way, it is in seeking God’s face that we get to know God and learn about His character.

2 Chron 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (ESV)

Yahweh God instructs the people of God to seek His face because they have abandoned Him and need to repent and return to Yahweh. When we pray, we humbly trust in Yahweh by seeking His face. Then God’s face shines on us. This is how we experience God’s salvation. So important is this concept that the Psalmist repeated it three times in his prayer.

Psa 80:3 “Restore us, O God, let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (ESV)

Psa 80:7 “Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (ESV)

Psa 80:19 “Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! Restore us, O YHWH God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (ESV, YHWH restored)

These are truly words of salvation when we experience God’s restoration by calling on His Name to return to Him.

(v) Be still. Be fully present before God without any distractions in prayer. Learn to be fully present before Yahweh. Often times, it is not that God is not there, but you are not there. You cannot focus because many distractions are pulling you in different directions. Suddenly you re­member the number of tasks that need to get done. A million thoughts race through your mind. There’s the special project, the blog posts, the laundry, the appointments, and all the people you will meet during the day. Cease all your activities and stop striving in prayer.

Imagine how frustrating it is to talk to a person whose eyes are rolling everywhere but are not fully concentrated before you. It takes discipline to stop all the things that distract the mind and heart. Only with focused attention on the other person can a meaningful relation­ship take place, when we are in each other’s company.

True prayer is when I am not in charge. Let go and let God take over. Direct your mind and heart “to you Yahweh”.

(2) Spare your people, O YHWH

Joel 2:17 “Spare your people, O YHWH, and make not your herit­age a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (ESV, YHWH restored and boldface added)

God is looking for servants to stand in the gap to intercede for His people. “Spare your people O Yahweh”.

Joel instructs the priests to mourn and weep in front of the altar and cry out to God. The priests are called “ministers of Yahweh” (1:9; 2:17). Priests minister by interceding for His people.

Call on the name of God to mourn for the people of God and pray for God’s mercy on them so that they will not become a reproach among the nations (vv. 17, 19).

Let us learn to approach God directly, and let the Spirit of God pray through us to intercede for His people.

(3) Bring down your warriors, O YHWH

Joel 3:11b “Bring down your warriors, O YHWH”. (ESV, YHWH restored and boldface added)

This is a short but powerful and focused prayer of Joel. Joel chapter 3 speaks of a prophecy of the final gathering of the nations. The prophet Joel proclaims to the surrounding nations, telling them to march into the valley of Jehoshaphat to war against God’s people. Joel compels them to gather for war, then suddenly he calls on God, “Bring down your warriors, O Yahweh.” And Yahweh answers him.

In facing the hostility of God’s enemies, we call out to Yahweh to intervene. God gives us victory. His enemies will be defeated and judged.

Joel chapter 3 is prophetic. We too need to get ready for the final battle, to come together and to call on Yahweh to win, to bring in the final redemption for God’s people.

3. Wake up, weep and mourn

Joel 1:5 “Awake, you drunkards, and weep, and wail.” (ESV, italics added)

Joel chapter 1 speaks of the locust plague and its devastating results on the land. Locusts are ravenous eaters. “What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten” (1:4). The destruction was catastrophic as the locusts moved in four stages of successive swarms, destroying all the crops. Farmers lost their harvest. Drought came. The fields were ruined and the ground dried up. The wheat and barley were destroyed. The fig trees languished, and the vine, pomegranate, and apples shriveled. All the trees in the field withered away.

God’s judgment came, yet His people were still asleep and drunk in their pitiful spiritual state.

It is time to wake up, to repent, and to put on sackcloth to cry out to God in mourning over sins. Weep, wail, and lament.

Joel 1:8 Lament like a virgin wearing sackcloth for the bridegroom of her youth. (ESV)

Calling the Name of Yahweh is not a mere uttering of God’s Name, but a deep plea of a repentant heart that is filled with lament, like that of a bride wearing sackcloth who mourns for the death of her husband on her wedding day. It is unthinkable that a bride would be wearing sack­cloth on her wedding day, but when joy turns to deep sorrow, the agony of the grief would be intensely overwhelming. Wail and weep. It was out of this kind of contrite heart that Joel calls out to Yahweh to save the Israelites from their desperate plight.

This is a wake-up call for us too. Pray that we may have this deep mourning to weep over our sins when we call on the name of Yahweh.

4. Cry out to YHWH together

Joel 1:13-14 “Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests; wail, O minis­ters of the altar. Go in, pass the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! Because grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God. Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of YHWH your God, cry out to YHWH.” (ESV, YHWH restored and boldface added)

Joel exhorted the priests to gather the elders into the house of Yahweh in order to “cry out” to Yahweh to get right with Him. The grain offerings and drink offerings had been cut off from the house of Yahweh. Calling for a fast for repentance was surely a most appropriate move.

The Hebrew word for “cry out” is זָעַק (zaaq) which means “to call, to cry out in need” (BDB).

The locust plague, the drought, and the famine were not a result of natural disasters but “a destruction that came from the Almighty” (v.15). So severe was God’s judgment that food was cut off before their eyes (v.16), seed shriveled under the clods, storehouses were ruined, granaries were broken down, the grains dried up (v.17), the cattle moaned and had no pasture, and the flocks of sheep suffered (v.18).

The destruction on the land was God’s judgment on His rebellious people. The raging fire destroyed everything (v.19). The land was threat­ened by successive crises. Even the beasts of the field panted for God (v.20) and the creation groaned. But what about God’s people?

The situation was truly desperate. God sounded the alarm to wake up the entire nation of Israel. “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain” (2:1, 15). Joel warned the people that the crisis was not over yet, but would escalate in intensity. While greater destruction was arriving with an army of rumbling horses and chariots charging for war, Joel called on the nation of Israel to wake up.

5. Return to YHWH with all your heart

Joel 2:12-13 “Yet even now,” declares YHWH, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to YHWH your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” (ESV, YHWH restored and bold­face added)

Returning to Yahweh must begin from the heart. Indeed God searches our hearts. Putting on sackcloth and rending the garment are pointless if a heart of repentance is not there. God will be gracious and merciful to us if we return to Him with all our hearts.

Let our hearts be completely open to Yahweh God. Let us draw near to Yahweh and let God come close to us. Any resistance on our part will close the channel for God to cleanse us thoroughly from within.

Yield our hearts over to God. Give your whole heart to God and do not hold back. Many Christians are afraid of God getting too close, and don’t want Him to touch their hearts. With sadness I watch them as their hearts slowly become hardened towards God. Their hearts grow cold and they become lukewarm. The fire of God is no longer there.

In my early Christian days, maintaining daily devotion was a daunt­ing task. I would be in such a rush to do my daily activities that I did not make time for God. I had difficulty getting up early in the morning to spend time with God. I was lazy. As a result, my spiritual life was a roller coaster ride going up and down with no fire for God. Many times I would kneel before God to ask for His forgiveness for not returning to Him with all my heart. We need to be zealous in our repentance. Only then will God’s fire burn within our hearts, empowering us to love and serve Him with our all.

When we have sins in our hearts, we must repent and return to God. When Bible reading gets stale and prayer is feeble, return to Yahweh with all your heart. Let Him turn all your restlessness into restfulness in Him.

Call to Yahweh from the depths of your heart to return to Him. The calling is not done in any mechanical way. Neither do we use the Name of Yahweh as a formula. Do not “mouth” His Name, or pay lip service to God. Call on Yahweh from your heart to deliver you.

In the 6th full-time training conducted by Pastor Eric in 1994, he taught us how to call on the name of Yahweh. It was the first time I had learned to call on Yahweh in prayer. When I call on His name, I feel His pleasure. When I watch myself and others call out to Yahweh from the depths of the heart, there is a deep stirring in our souls to take hold of God. It is a moment of inner awakening. You yourself will know it when the calling is from the heart. You will experience an intense desire to draw close to God, and you will let Him draw close to you all the time. We are strengthened when we call on God’s trusted Name. He always hears this kind of prayer.

6. Call on YHWH for the Day of YHWH is Near

Joel 1:15 “Ah! For the day! For the day of YHWH is near. It will come like destruction from Shaddai.”

Joel 2:1 “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of YHWH is coming — it is indeed near.”

Joel 2:11 “And YHWH utters his voice before his army, because his encampment is very large; strong is the one who carries out his decree, for great is the day of YHWH and exceedingly fearful. Who can endure it?”

Joel 2:31 “The sun will be changed to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of YHWH.”

Joel 3:14 “Commotion, commotion in the valley of decision! For the day of YHWH is near in the valley of decision!” (all five verses quoted from LEB, boldface added)

Joel speaks of a significant day: the day of YHWH יֹ֣ום יְהוָ֑ה. Not only is the day of Yahweh coming, it is near.

The Hebrew word for “near” is קָרוֹב (qarob), which means “near in place or time” (BDB). The day of Yahweh is indeed imminent; therefore the wake-up call to spiritual alertness demands an imme­diate response from us. Do not procrastinate any longer but get yourself spiritually ready for that day. Call on Yahweh.

How often do you ponder on the day of Yahweh? I often meditate on the day of Yahweh as we are moving ever closer to that day. Let’s call on the name of Yahweh, for God’s judgment has come. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down since 2020. The music stopped. 2.3 million people died from the virus in one year. We were globally forced to stop in our tracks altogether. Many of our lives came to a halt with city lockdowns and social distancing. But even long before Covid-19, many of our lives had already been in effectual lockdown, and the coronavirus outbreak simply brought our pitiful situation to the surface. Already in the past decade, have you noticed that with smart­phones and social media, sitting together with friends and family has ironically become less sociable, with people disengaged from one another in self absorption in their phones? People don’t like to engage in meaning­ful conversation anymore. Everything is done in quick and easy messages. We seem to be more efficient, but we have become more isolated and self-centered. Loneliness, fear, anxiety, stress, and depress­ion have started controlling many lives. Has Covid-19 wakened us up to put our lives in order before God?

The judgment of the locust invasion in Joel has parallels — whether physical or spiritual — in modern times. While everyone’s attention has been focused on combating the coronavirus, many may not be aware of the locust swarms migrating across Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, India, and southwest China, destroying crops. We are living in critical days of the end times. Pandemic, locusts, plague, drought and famine are all signs of the end times (cf. Luke 21:11). Just as the locust plague and the famine in Joel foreshadow a far greater and devastating judgment to come, we are now living in the shadow of the nearness of the day. Are we prepared for famine when it comes our way? It may be just around the corner. Could it be that from now on, wearing face masks is a necessity of life until the day of Yahweh? That day does not suddenly come without signs and warnings. Each sign ought to prompt us to repent speedily.

Joel describes the day of Yahweh as “a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Joel 2:2). It is a great and terrible day, who can endure it?

We can also get a better understanding of the day of Yahweh from the messages of other OT prophets. The day of Yahweh is also called “that day” (Isa 2:11) or “the great day” (Zeph 1:14). The day of Yahweh often conveys a sense of the imminence and nearness of impending judgment. Destruction from the Almighty will come soon (Isa 13:6). The day of Yahweh is near, a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations (Ezek 30:3). The day of Yahweh is darkness and gloom with no light and brightness (Amos 5:18, 20). The day of Yahweh is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and lofty battlements (Zeph 1:14-16). In a nutshell, the day of Yahweh is a great and dreadful day (Mal 4:5). It is a terrible day of wrath, who can withstand it? (Rev 6:17)

As the day of Yahweh is yet to come, we now wait for its eschatolog­ical arrival. The end times will be dreadful. Who can endure the intense crisis? The day of Yahweh is great yet terrible — great for the remnant as they will experience salvation, and terrible for the wicked as they will be punished in judgment.

7. The Call to YHWH for Salvation is in YHWH

Joel 2:32 “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of YHWH shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as YHWH has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom YHWH calls. (ESV, YHWH restored and italics added)

(1) Joel is referring to a future event that will take place in the final salvation for mankind. The day of Yahweh will be impossible to endure without God’s mercy. Those who call on the Name of Yahweh will be saved.

(2) In Joel, the promise of salvation comes in the form of blessings from Yahweh. The blessings that He pours out are twofold: earthly physical abundance (2:18-27) and spiritual empowering (2:28-32). Blessings will come upon the land as Yahweh satisfies His people with grain, wine, and oil. The wilderness will turn into green pastures, trees will bear fruit, and the vine and fig tree will give their full yield. Abundant rain will come to nurture the crops. The threshing floor will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with wine and oil. The people of God will eat in plenty and be satisfied. Later, spiritual blessings will come with the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh — sons and daughters, the old and the young; even male and female servants are included. The promise of the Spirit of Yahweh upon all flesh is a sign of the salvation that God promises to His people.

The fulfillment of God’s prophecies often takes place in stages. One day, the entire people of Yahweh will become a prophetic commun­ity with the empowering of the Spirit of Yahweh. Visons and dreams will be given to young and old such that everyone, no matter what their status is, can receive direct revelations from God and so become messengers of Yahweh.

(3) Salvation is experienced by those who call on the Name of Yahweh. There will be deliverance in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. It is a day of salvat­ion as God delivers the remnant who are faithful to Him. Bear in mind that those who call on Yahweh are not just crying out to escape from the destruction but expressing their faith in Yahweh in total reliance on Him, the one in whom they take refuge (3:16). They trust in Yahweh as their God, and He delivers them. There is a remnant whom Yahweh calls.

The promise of salvation spoken by Joel is relevant to us as we are now nearer to the day of Yahweh. As Paul says, “For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). Do you see the urgency to call on the Name of Yahweh? How can you call on Yahweh if you don’t know His Name? For most of my Christian life, I was not aware of the significance of God’s Name Yahweh. It is only in the last ten years that I spent almost every day learning about Yahweh my God in Scripture. Since 2013, I started writing blogs to share about the Name of Yahweh with the world. The motivation behind this book is also to inspire you to grasp the significance of the Name so that you call on Yahweh. Calling on Yahweh is not invoking the Name in a mechanical manner as though the calling is something magical. The calling must be exercised with faith in Yahweh God.

I call on God’s Name because I trust in Yahweh and desire to build an ongoing friendship with Him. The calling is not a casual uttering of the Name but a deep cry expressing my full submission to Yahweh, to live under the authority of His Name. “Yahweh is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). Call on Yahweh with a pure and honest heart that trusts in Yahweh alone without wavering.

Let’s heed the message of Joel and call on Yahweh God in truthful­ness of heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning. At the beginning of Joel, God’s judgment first came upon the people of Yahweh, so that the people of God learned to lament and return to Yahweh by calling on His Name for deliverance. After Yahweh delivered His people, the judgment then came upon the enemies of Yahweh in Judah. Yahweh saves us for He is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in stead­fast love, and he relents over disaster” (Joel 2:13). Those who don’t repent have much to fear, but those who call on Yahweh with a contrite heart can rejoice in His salvation.

Call on Yahweh today. If you don’t call on the Name of Yahweh now, how will you call on the Name of Yahweh for your final salvation? Calling on the Name of Yahweh expresses a lifestyle that fully trusts in Yahweh with a total heart.

Salvation and blessings come on those who call on Yahweh and those whom Yahweh calls. The end time will be beyond human endurance, so the only way we can survive is to call on God’s Name. Start today to live a lifestyle that calls on the Name of Yahweh.

[1] With the immense progress made in the study of Hebrew in the last century, Biblical scholars generally agree that the pronunciation of YHWH is Yahweh. There is still an ongoing debate among Hebrew scholars regarding the precise vocalization of “Yahweh”.

[2] In the table, the statistics for the occurrences of YHWH for each chapter of Joel are taken from the Leningrad Codex. The statistics can be tabulated from the Bible statistics tool at the following website: Select the book of Joel, key in H3068 which is the Strong’s number for יהוה (trans­lated as LORD), and hit search. Also key in H3069 as this is another Strong’s number for יהוה (translated as GOD). There are no occurrences of H3069 in Joel.

[3] The statistics for all the Hebrew words for each chapter of Joel are taken from the Leningrad Codex. The table statistics can be tabulated with the Bible statistics tool at Select the book of Joel, key in 1:1 to 3:21, and hit search.

[4] For the Old Testament, I use the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (BDB) and Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (TDOT). For the New Testament, I use Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Earlier Christian Literature, and Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

[5] I underlined the significant words to make it easier for you to follow the word study.


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