Hidden Prophets Of The Bible

Day 2 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional

 

Joel

The book of Joel reminds us that we are incapable of being consistently faithful to God. Israel could never achieve this throughout her entire history, despite what God had done for her. And none of us should think that we could do any better. So those of us who might think that our lives might be good enough to squeak by on the coming day of judgment should think again! Joel reminds us that it is not those who rely on their own goodness, but rather “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD [who] will be saved” (2:32). And this is the other monumental truth with which Joel comforts us: God’s grace and love provide a deliverance that is available to all who simply ask for it.

The prophet tells us that God will make a life-and-death decision for each one of us on the coming day of the Lord. But he gives us the opportunity to make a life-and-death decision ourselves before that time. We can choose what is not life and face a real judgment, or we can choose what is real life and no longer face judgment. We all pass through the valley of decision (3:14), where we decide the ultimate outcome of our lives. Jesus already experienced the judgment of the day of the Lord for those who let him, so they no longer need to fear the day that will come upon those who reject him.

But this is just considering the negative; there is also true life to consider. Just as God lets those who reject him experience now a taste of the judgment that lies in store for them in the future, so he lets those who trust him experience now a taste of the full life that lies in store for them in the future. Those who place their lives in his hands experience peace instead of fear, contentment instead of dissatisfaction, and wholeness instead of brokenness. God’s people have set aside a special day each week to remind ourselves of what Jesus has accomplished for us. The day of the Lord is no longer something for us to fear but rather something to celebrate on a day named for it—the Lord’s day!

If we are trusting in God’s deliverance through Jesus Christ, the prophet Joel reminds us to continue looking to him for true meaning and fulfillment in life. But if we are trusting in ourselves for deliverance, the prophet Joel reminds us that only “darkness and gloom,” “clouds and blackness” (2:2) lie ahead, both in this life and when Jesus returns. So, let’s decide for Jesus while we yet have the opportunity! Let’s continue to decide for him every day as we face those things that threaten to weaken our connection to the source of life. Let’s make sure those around us realize the decision they are making as well. And let’s encourage them, just as Joel encourages us, to find deliverance in the Lord of life from everything that is anti-life.