Priests, blow the trumpets in Zion. Give a warning on my holy mountain. Let everyone who lives in the land tremble with fear. The day of the LORD is coming. It is very near.
That day will be dark and sad. It will be black and cloudy. A huge army of locusts is coming. They will spread across the mountains like the sun when it rises. There has never been an army like it. And there will never be another for all time to come.
Like fire they eat up everything in their path. Behind them it looks as if flames have burned the land. In front of them the land is like the Garden of Eden. Behind them it is a dry and empty desert. Nothing escapes them.
They look like horses. Like war horses they charge ahead.
They sound like chariots as they leap over the mountaintops. They crackle like fire burning up dry weeds. They are like a mighty army that is ready for battle.
When people see them, they tremble with fear. All of their faces turn pale.
The locusts charge ahead like warriors. They climb over walls like soldiers. All of them march in line. They don't turn to the right or the left.
They don't bump into one another. Each of them marches straight ahead. They charge through everything that tries to stop them. But they still stay in line.
They attack a city. They run along its wall. They climb into houses. They enter through windows like robbers.
As they march forward, the earth shakes. The sky trembles as they approach. The sun and moon grow dark. And the stars stop shining.
The LORD thunders with his mighty voice as he leads his army. He has so many forces they can't even be counted. Those who obey his commands are great in number. The day of the LORD is great and terrifying. Who can live through it?
The Lord announces to his people, "Return to me with all your heart. There is still time. Do not eat any food. Sob and cry."
Don't just tear your clothes to show how sad you are. Let your hearts be broken. Return to the LORD your God. He is gracious. He is tender and kind. He is slow to get angry. He is full of love. He takes pity on you. He won't destroy you.
Who knows? He might turn toward you and have pity on you. He might even give you his blessing. Then you can bring grain offerings and drink offerings to the LORD your God.
Priests, blow the trumpets in Zion. Announce a holy fast. Tell the people not to eat anything. Gather them together for a special service.
Bring them together. Set all of them apart to me. Bring together the elders. Gather the children and the babies who are still nursing. Let the groom leave his bedroom. Let the bride leave their marriage bed.
Let the priests who serve the LORD sob. Let them cry between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, "Lord, spare your people. Don't let others make fun of them. Don't let the nations laugh at them. Don't let them tease your people and say, 'Where is their God?' "
Then the LORD will show concern for his land. He will take pity on his people.
He will reply, "I will send you grain, olive oil and fresh wine. It will be enough to satisfy you completely. I will never allow other nations to make fun of you again.
"I will drive far away from you the army that comes from the north. I will send some of its forces into a dry and empty land. Those in front will be pushed into the Dead Sea. The ones in back will be driven into the Mediterranean Sea. Their dead bodies will give off a bad smell." The LORD has done great things.
Land, don't be afraid. Be glad and full of joy. The LORD has done great things.
Wild animals, don't be afraid. The grasslands are turning green again. The trees are bearing their fruit. The vines and fig trees are producing rich crops.
People of Zion, be glad. Be joyful because of what the LORD your God has done. He has given you the right amount of rain in the fall. He has sent you plenty of showers. He has sent fall and spring rains alike, just as he did before.
Your threshing floors will be covered with grain. Olive oil and fresh wine will spill over from the places where they are stored.
The LORD says, "I sent a great army of locusts to attack you. They included common locusts, giant locusts, young locusts and other locusts. I will make up for the years they ate your crops.
You will have plenty to eat. It will satisfy you completely. Then you will praise me. I am the LORD your God. I have done wonderful miracles for you. My people will never be put to shame again.
You will know that I am with you in Israel. I am the LORD your God. There is no other God. So my people will never be put to shame again.
"After that, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will have dreams. Your young men will have visions.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit on those who serve me, men and women alike.
I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth. There will be blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
The sun will become dark. The moon will turn red like blood. It will happen before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.
Everyone who calls out to me will be saved. On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem some of my people will be left alive. I have chosen them. That is what I have promised.