The valley of decision!
Scripture reading for September 10th: Joel 1-3
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; The earth and sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people; a stronghold for the people of Israel.” Joel 3:14-16
Joel was a prophet of God who spoke to God’s people during a terrible plague of locusts. (Joel 1:4) God used this locust plague to speak to his people of their coming judgment. (Joel 1:13-14) Joel called God’s people to fasting and prayer for God’s mercy. A trumpet was to be blown calling all to God’s temple for serious intercession. Joel spoke to them about the ‘day of the Lord’ and their need of repentance.
The preparation for this ‘day of the Lord’ was preparation of the heart. The custom for fasting was to put on sackcloth and sprinkle ashes on their heads. They would cry out in weeping before God, symbolically mourning for their sins. But God was after something else. He desired a broken and contrite heart! (Psalm 51:17) (Joel 2:13) God through Joel called all the people together to rend their hearts. They were to say, “Spare your people, O Lord.” (Joel 2:17) God’s grace and compassion was the motivation for the fast and His goodness always leads His people to repentance! (Romans 2:4)
The answer from God to this fast was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the whole land! (Joel 2:28-32) (Acts 2:14-21) As all came to fast, all would be anointed with God’s Spirit! There would be signs and wonders in the earth among God’s people, young and old, men and women! This would happen right before the ‘day of the Lord’! Everyone who would call on God would be saved! (Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13)
Joel ends with a vision of the coming ‘day of the Lord’. Joel sees multitudes of people gathered in the valley of Jehoshaphat. There God enters into judgment against the nations that have reject Him and His people. There are multitudes who will be judged and eternally lost! (Joel 3:1-2) This will be a terrible day for the unsaved when the lights of heaven grow dim and eternal darkness covers their souls. But God will be a refuge for His people! Whose side will you be on?