Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Joel 3: 4-8

4"Moreover, what are you to Me, O Tyre, Sidon and all the regions of Philistia?
Are you rendering Me a recompense? But if you do recompense Me,
swiftly and speedily I will return your recompense on your head.

5"Since you have taken My silver and My gold, brought My precious treasures to your temples,

6and sold the sons of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their territory,

7behold, I am going to arouse them from the place where you have sold them, and return your recompense on your head.

8"Also I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the sons of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a distant nation," for the LORD has spoken.

God's judgment of the nations continues in these next verses of Chapter 3. The Father is very specific in His address now, calling out the nations of Tyre, Sidon and the "regions of Philistia," which the King James' refers to as "all the coasts of Palestine."

Tyre and Sidon were, at different times, the capital of Phonecia. My study Bible says that slave trading between the Phoenicians and the Philistines was not uncommon. Our passage today records that these nations were slave trading God's people to the Greeks to "remove them far from their territory." (vs. 6) If you think about where Greece is from these cities--across the Mediterranean and north--that would be far-removed Judah in the southern kingdom.

Obviously, God is not pleased with His people being in bondage. The sins of the nations are grievous. But, even more so, the attitude--the heart attitude.

"Are you rendering Me a recompense?" (vs. 4)

'Recompense' is a fancy word for fix things. It means to repay, to make compensation for, to make amends or, more literally, to balance out again. ( At this point in the life of the nations, with God's judgment being spoken, an offer of making amends is not only noticed and rejected, but noticed and avenged.

At its most literal meaning, recompense means "to weigh together," which spurs to mind the image of the scales of justice. Surely the nations were willing to offer up anything in their possession to balance the scales once again. God definitely doesn't see things similarly. This is not a situation which can be balanced, for there can only be One who possesses--Him who creates and apportions all things. The temples of the gods were filled with the precious metals from the land of God's people--this, on top of the people being sold into slavery.

But where verse 4 hints that any suggestion of recompense would be misguided, verses 7 and 8 confirm that reality will befall the nations. What's fascinating to note here is how God chooses to bring about His revenge. He is going to use the very people--His people--who have been enslaved. He will "arouse" them. That expression "sleeping giant" comes to mind, as God will raise up and strengthen those to bring the very treatment they received upon those who had administered it. It's an Old Testament "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" kind of response (Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21). The Sabeans, merchants of Arabia, were known to be exporters of gold, precious stones and perfume. Not surprisingly, God earmarked the nations' children to those who were also masters in the slave trade. (vs. 8)

"The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, and all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; and they will call you the city of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
--Isaiah 60:14

Joel regains his speaking role, picking up where God left off.... 'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Joel 3: 9-12

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...

Wow! Joel's message is so powerful! I love how you bring understanding of who the nations are today. Just recompense indeed! Joel seems to put clear glasses on our eyes when looking at todays situation in the middle east. They are still trying to misplace them and feel they have the right to do so. How amazed I am at God's word. Seriously!! Thanks Sue.