Joel 2 may be one of the best known chapters in all the minor prophets. We may know it best from Peter’s citation of it in his sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2). The locust plague devastating Judah is but a symbol of the suffering to come, an army whose ranks cannot be broken and whose soldiers come over the city wall, climbing through windows. The army is coming and the Lord is leading it against His own people because of their sins.
In Joel, however, there is still hope. His people are urged to return to the Lord with penitence and repentance. God will bless them and destroy their enemies (chapter 3).
Then, in verse 28, God makes a promise. The promise would not likely stand out to the first readers. It is a consequence of their repentance.
It does, however, stand out to us because we know they didn’t repent.
God knew they wouldn’t of course. So beginning with 2:28 He speaks of a time Israel would never know. But we know it. A time after the armies of judgment came against Israel and destroyed her. A time when God acted not because His people were evil or good, but just because He decided “it’s time.” He sent His Holy Spirit and the result was that all, Jew and Gentile, who would turn to the Lord would be saved. We live today in anticipation of what is to follow: the judgment. It is as sure as the army of locusts that invaded Israel so very long ago.