In November 2019, my husband and I traveled to Kansas to visit relatives.

On a late morning we decided to take a stroll in the neighborhood.

After a bit of walking my recovering torn ankle ligament needed a break, so I suggested we sit down at a memorial statue that had several benches and rest awhile.

Suddenly, the tornado alarm that was roughly forty yards from us fired up and rotated straight towards us as it moved a quarter turn before turning off.

While it was blaring both of us were looking confusedly at clear and sunny skies above us while covering our ears.

After the siren stopped it dawned on us that it was 12:00 pm on a Monday in Kansas.

This was a call to attention moment! Albeit a funny one!

(For those who did not grow up in Kansas, since tornados are a common concern, every Monday at 12:00 pm, the tornado sirens are tested unless the weather is stormy.)

We have laughed about this ever since.

What does this have to do with our study of Joel?


The instrument in the picture above is a Hebrew shofar or trumpet that was traditionally used to call to attention either a military action or a sacred assembly for the Hebrew people.

A trumpet was used as a call to attention because it is an instrument that can generate a distinctive and loud sound.

Different patterns would be used depending on whether the call to attention was intended to be a military warning or one to gather for a sacred or even festive purpose.

We may not always use a trumpet to call to attention today, but we do use other alarms in similar ways.

Consider firetrucks, ambulances,  weather, and police sirens. These all make an intentionally loud noise and sometimes flashing lights as well to call to attention the people nearby.

Depending on the siren used the call to attention informs the people nearby how they should respond.

Read Joel 2:15:

ESV  Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly.

This is not the first time in our study that a command to call to attention has been issued.

Read Joel 2:1:

ESV  Joel 2:1 Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near.

The entire first chapter of Joel is also a call to attention given the frequent commands to hear, listen, and wake up.

Read Joel 2:15 again:

ESV  Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly.

Again, this is not the first time we have seen the people of Judah told to fast and gather.

Read Joel 1:14:

ESV  Joel 1:14 Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God and cry out to the LORD.

Why is the trumpet being blown and the community being told to fast and gather once again in Joel 2:15?

What is different about the context of Joel 2:15 compared to Joel 2:1?

The trumpet call to attention in Joel 2:1 is to announce the coming of the Lord’s army to attack Judah for their lack of proper attention to their relationship with the Lord.

The trumpet call to attention in Joel 2:15 follows on the heels of a significant turning point in Joel 2:12 where the Lord had announced that  if Judah sincerely returned to relationship with Him that it was not too late for Him to stop the attack announced in Joel 2:1.

Thus, the call to attention by the trumpet blast in Joel 2:15 is a call to come into right fellowship with the Lord.

The repeat of the call to consecrate a fast and hold a solemn assembly immediately following this second trumpet call to attention is reminding the community with specific instructions on how they should return to a right fellowship with the Lord.

They are to come under a consecrated fast and gather in unity to be in a right relationship with the Lord.

Keep in mind this is not a fast from food. There was no food available. The locusts, droughts, and fires had destroyed all the vegetation they normally depended on.

A synonym for consecrate is holy. This fast is about their spiritual status with the Lord.

The implication once again, is that their hearts had been far from a right relationship with the Lord.

This is their siren call to return with sincerity in humble worship of their creator.

How can this passage help us today?

A serious call to attention that my husband and I experienced several years ago was when we finally awakened to the fact that we had not been living fiscally sound.

Within thirty days of humbling ourselves with each other and the Lord we had sold a house we could no longer afford and moved into one that was more fiscally suited to our incomes.

Family and friends were astonished when we first shared our decision to make the change. They were even more surprised when it only took us thirty days to accomplish the task.

We heeded our call to attention at that time and witnessed the Lord move in amazing ways over those thirty days.

When have you heeded a call to attention the Lord sent you? What was the result?

Is there a call to attention the Lord is sending you today?  Are you ready to respond?

May today’s call to attention be one that you comprehend and are willing to humble yourself to take the action the Lord is directing you towards.


Barbara Lynn

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