And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executes his word…
I. JUDGMENTS PRODUCTIVE OF GREAT SORROW. "A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness." This imagery is probably taken from the flight of locusts. They come in clouds. They darken the sky when they fly. The judgment of the locusts was typical of the day of judgment. Light is always the emblem of joy. Darkness is the emblem of intense sorrow. The day of the Lord will be productive of great sorrow to the impenitent, as then all their plans will be at an end, their hopes will vanish, their ambitions will appear vain, and the great mystery of eternity before them for which they are unprepared will awaken the saddest reflections and anticipations within their souls.
II. JUDGMENTS WIDELY SPREAD. "As the morning spread upon the mountains." Some have thought this to allude to the appearance which the inhabitants of Abyssinia too well knew, as preceding the coming of the locusts. A sombre yellow light is cast on the ground, from the reflection, it was thought, of their yellow wings. But that appearance itself seems to be peculiar to that country, or perhaps to certain flights of locusts. The image naturally describes the suddenness and universality of the darkness, when men looked for light. As the mountain-tops first catch the gladdening rays of the sun, ere yet it riseth on. the plains, and the light spreads from height to height, until the whole earth is arrayed in light,: so wide and universal shall the outspreading be, but it Shall be of darkness, not of light; the light itself shall be turned into darkness (Pusey). Thus the ills of the day of the Lord will be rapid in their motion as the spread of the first light of the day, and will fall upon all the myriads of the impenitent who have lived since the commencement of time.
III. JUDGMENTS GREATLY DESTRUCTIVE. "A flame devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them." This is not to be understood of the heat of the sun, or of the great drought that went before and continued after the locusts, but of them themselves, which were like a consuming fire; wherever they came they devoured everything as fire does stubble. This is a picture of the judgments which will accompany the day of the Lord; they will consume as with a terrible flame all that a wicked life holds dear, and there shall be no escape from their terrible ravages.
IV. JUDGMENTS EMINENTLY WARLIKE. "They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks." And thus we have pictured the awful judgments of the day of the Lord, — they shall be swift as horsemen (ver. 4); they shall inspire terror (ver. 6); they shall overcome every obstruction to their effective operation (ver. 7); they shall be orderly and well disciplined (ver. 7); they shall be incapable of repulse (ver. 8); they shall stealthily achieve their ends (ver. 9); they shall derange the usual order of nature (ver. 10); they shall leave no doubt as to the fact that they are Divinely sent on their work of retribution. Well may the prophet ask, "Who shall be able to stand?"
V. JUDGMENTS DIVINELY CONDUCTED. "And the Lord shall utter His voice before His army." And thus amidst the terrors of that awful day there will be heard the Divine voice, commanding the warlike energies which shall be so destructive, and that voice will strike despair into the wicked soul. Lessons —
1. That the day of the Lord is advancing.
2. That it will come full of terror.
3. That it should lead to repentance.
(J. S. Exell. M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?