Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Joel 3: 13-17

13Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe
Come, tread, for the wine press is full;
The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.
14Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
15The sun and moon grow dark
And the stars lose their brightness.
16The LORD roars from Zion
And utters His voice from Jerusalem,
And the heavens and the earth tremble
But the LORD is a refuge for His people
And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.
17Then you will know that I am the LORD your God,
Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain
So Jerusalem will be holy,
And strangers will pass through it no more.

If you weren't with us last week and just started reading our passage this week, you might feel as though you've been thrown for a loop. A ripe harvest and full winepress! Let the Jubilee begin!! But don't celebrate too soon, as the end of verse 13 sets the score straight: "...for their wickedness is great."

Faithful reader, Carmen, caught on to the tone God was setting with the words of Joel in the last post. There is an invitation to the nations to come to the valley, a ripe crop needing to be harvested. God is waiting...waiting for the multitudes. But we have already read God's agenda for this gathering early in the chapter, and this will not be a time of toasting.

"For the LORD'S indignation is against all the nations, and His wrath against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to slaughter.... For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the cause of Zion."
--Isaiah 34: 2 & 8

The next verses continue the verbiage we read in Joel 2, as creation takes a turn for the drastic and horrible. Everything that once shone light is now dark. The voice of God is heard. Not just heard, but God "roars." This creates a most frightening picture. Prepared for battle, the nations are gathered around at the invitation of the Lord, and God turns out the lights and raises His voice. And He's just getting started! [shudder] I like what Strong's says about the Hebrew for the verb tremble in verse 16: "To undulate (as the earth, the sky, etc.; also a field of grain), particularly through fear; specifically to spring (as a locust)." Love the tieback to Joel 1 and the locusts. Multitudes of nations, quaking in fear, springing, as locusts.

Jeremiah 16:19 is a cross-reference for this verse. "O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of distress, to You the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, futility and things of no profit.'" That last quote is pretty powerful--"inherited nothing but falsehood, futility and things of no profit." When we think of inheritance, we generally think of acquiring good things, like a monetary sum, a business, a position. The nations will inherit nothing for their waywardness. They have "chased after the wind" as Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes.

Then, there is a shift midway through verse 16, as Joel speaks of God being a refuge and a stronghold for His people. There will be those who will not see destruction on this Day. [More on the blessings for Judah next week.] God will fulfill the message that the nations have heard generation after generation after generation. His people will be ransomed and everyone will know that He is God! And as the Lord Jesus begins His reign in His second coming, Zion will once again be made holy. Jerusalem will once again be made holy. The "strangers", the "aliens", those who have "turned aside" from their God [Strong's] will be no more.

Closing with a reference verse from Obadiah [keeping the links to recently learned knowledge alive!]:

"'But on Mount Zion there will be those who escape, and it will be holy and the house of Jacob will possess their possessions.'"
--Obadiah 1:17

Joel concludes and "Judah will be blessed".... 'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Joel 3: 18-21

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).

1 comment:

Carmen said...

You know, I never noticed that reference to the Lord being a refuge and a stronghold for His people in this portion. That is so cool!'s not hard to be faithful when the food is so good! Btw, love the new profile picture!