Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
The prophet intimates that the destruction caused by the flight of the locusts over the land of Judah was but the commencement of calamity, and that it was a type of judgments more awful in the future. And all the judgments which come upon men in the present are indicative of the final judgment which is to come, and are warnings of that awful event, so that we may not be unprepared to meet it.
I. THAT IT WILL BE DIVINELY DISTINGUISHED FROM ALL THE DAYS WHICH HAVE PRECEDED IT. "The day! for the day of the Lord." This time of judgment is called the day of the Lord.
1. Because on this day the Lord will give a splendid manifestation of Himself.
2. Because this day will be in sublime contrast, in relation to the unfolding of the Divine purposes, to all others that have preceded it. In the days of Christ's incarnation He was rejected and despised of men; men saw no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. In our own age there are multitudes who neglect and treat Him with contempt, while many who profess to serve Him are cold in their service. These are the days of men, in which they are free to pursue an evil method of life, and in which they are left to accomplish their work, waiting for the return of the Great Master; but these days are soon to give place to the Day of the Lord, in the which He will give to every man according to the quality of his work. Then the Lord will exert His sovereign power.
II. THAT IT IS NEAR IN ITS APPROACH AND WILL COME SUDDENLY UPON MANKIND. "The day of the Lord is at hand."
1. This day is certain in its advent. There may be many who contemptuously ask, "Where is the promise of His coming?" (2 Peter 3:4.)
2. This day will be sudden in its advent. The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, and will cause a sudden fear to come upon many.
3. This day is near in its advent (2 Peter 3:8).
III. THAT IT WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE MOST AWFUL DESTRUCTION EVER WITNESSED BY MANKIND. "And as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." Lessons —
1. This revelation concerning the day of the Lord should make us careful in the ordering of our individual life.
2. This revelation concerning the day of the Lord should lead us to put forth our best activities to save men from its impending doom.
3. In this revelation concerning the day of the Lord see the mercy of heaven in giving us full warning of the coming peril.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.