Joel 3:9-16 and It Gets Darkest Before the Dawn

119163Most people who are somewhat familiar with the Bible will at least have heard of the beautiful prophecy in Isaiah 2 that talks about peace in the future:

In days to come
    the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
    Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
    and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war any more.

This is a wonderful description of what the world will be like when the Messiah, Jesus, truly rules over all.

Not many people are as familiar with this passage in Joel which comes after the prophecy about Pentecost that Peter quotes in Acts 2:1-21 (Joel 2:28-32). Here is what the Lord says through Joel:

Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare war,
    stir up the warriors.
Let all the soldiers draw near,
    let them come up.
10 Beat your ploughshares into swords,
    and your pruning-hooks into spears;
    let the weakling say, ‘I am a warrior.’

11 Come quickly,
    all you nations all around,
    gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O Lord.
12 Let the nations rouse themselves,
    and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge
    all the neighbouring nations.

13 Put in the sickle,
    for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
    for the wine press is full.
The vats overflow,
    for their wickedness 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 shake.
But the Lord is a refuge for his people,
    a stronghold for the people of Israel.

All the nations of the earth will use whatever means they have to make war on God’s covenant people. The warning for us is to have faith and find refuge in the Lord. Being a follower of Christ does not mean that life will be easy or bountiful. It means that we will have a refuge in times of trouble, and then at the end we will find peace.

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