We are in the end times. The signs are all around us. Since the day Jesus ascended to Heaven and gave us His Holy Spirit, we have begun preparing for His Return, for the Day of The LORD. It is becoming clearer and clearer that the world is getting closer to that Terrific Day. Why will The Lord take His retribution? Why will He judge the nations? Because He is a God of Love and He will not let His people, His children be attacked, hurt, and enslaved forever. He is Love and so He is our Justice and our vengeance. Verses 1-8 describe the crimes against God’s people.
“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, 3 and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it.
4 “What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will return your payment on your own head swiftly and speedily.5 For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. 6 You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their own border. 7 Behold, I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will return your payment on your own head. 8 I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away, for the Lord has spoken.”
People either war against God or are at peace with Him, there is no other choice, there is no middle ground. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as savior, you are at war with God. Romans 5:9-11 says it this way,
“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
In verses 9-12 Joel tells those enemies of the Lord to prepare for the battle on the Day of The LORD.
“Proclaim this among the nations:
Consecrate for war;
stir up the mighty men.
Let all the men of war draw near;
let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords,
and your pruning hooks into spears;
let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”
11 Hasten and come,
all you surrounding nations,
and gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O Lord.
12 Let the nations stir themselves up
and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge
all the surrounding nations.”
As believers we have something else to look forward to. We’ve been fighting the enemy all along. And after that Day when everyone is judged we will no longer have to fight. Jesus, our Righteousness and Justice is our Peace and war will no longer be necessary. Isaiah 2:4 says,
“He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.”
The lost have been living it up getting a much pleasure and money in this temporary life, proclaiming YOLO as excuse for hedonism. That Day will come as a surprise to them and they will suddenly be faced with a war bigger than they can fathom. They will take the tools they used to get rich and indulge themselves and try and fight and they will die. But believers have been prepared, we’ve been fighting a war since we were re-born as God’s sons and daughters. We will take those weapons of prayer, the Sword of the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit, and fellowship with God and we will use them to live well with Him in eternity.
The signs are clear. Even for the person who has never read the Bible it is obvious that the world is decaying faster and faster. Yes, we have always had wars and terrible ones, worse than we now fight. Yes, we have had evil throughout the ages. But now the world is one where evil is promulgated faster than even news reporters can tell it. It propagates quickly and it affects the entire world, not only a community, a city, or a nation. These tragedies we see so very often, the Holocaust, 9/11, Boston Marathon, Paris, and the many others that come to mind, though perpetrated by evil men are calling people to repentance and reconciliation with God. The natural disasters the earthquakes, tsunamis, and super storms are crying out to lead people to God. Are people paying attention? Verses 13-16 read,
“Put in the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
for the winepress is full.
The vats overflow,
for their evil is great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes,
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
16 The Lord roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth quake.
But the Lord is a refuge to his people,
a stronghold to the people of Israel.”
Will people seek the refuge of The Lord? It is not just a haven for now, but a peace for eternity. Verses 17-21 read,
“So you shall know that I am the Lord your God,
who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain.
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
and strangers shall never again pass through it.
18 “And in that day
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
and the hills shall flow with milk,
and all the streambeds of Judah
shall flow with water;
and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord
and water the Valley of Shittim.
19 “Egypt shall become a desolation
and Edom a desolate wilderness,
for the violence done to the people of Judah,
because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
20 But Judah shall be inhabited forever,
and Jerusalem to all generations.
21 I will avenge their blood,
blood I have not avenged,
for the Lord dwells in Zion.”
Why will God release His wrath? Because He loves us. He adores us! He will not let this evil continue forever. One Day soon He will come riding triumphantly leading the angel armies. (Revelation 19:11-16). One Day soon He will come judge the nations and take His children home.