Joel means “the Lord is God.” Pethuel means “open heartedness toward God.” Interesting because much of the book revolves around these two ideas. The Lord shows He is God over all things. These demonstrations of His power create open heartedness toward God in some people and resentment in others.
Chapter 1 starts with a listen-up; something big is happening here. Sheer destruction and desolation are on the agenda. “What action can we take?” the people ask. “Fast,” says the prophet, as in don’t eat food and pray.
Chapter 2 begins with an alarm sounding because the day of the Lord is coming. This day is not pretty. Yet, the Lord gives a chance for repentance. “Return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. Rend your hearts and not your garment.” Note that a blessing follows repentance. It’s wise to follow the Lord’s call to repentance.
Chapter 3 tells of the nations gathering against the Lord and His people in the valley of decision. The Lord shows Himself victorious and reaffirms that Israel’s people are His people.
Special note: “The day of the Lord” is mentioned 19x in Scripture; 5 of those are here in Joel.