Tag: weeping between porch and altar

The Valley of Decision

Scripture reading for September 11th: Joel 1-3

Joel spoke to Israel during a time of natural disaster.  A swarm of locusts had invaded Israel and was devouring their crops.  (Joel 1:4)  Joel saw in this locust plague a picture of another coming judgment on the nation.   An army from the north was coming to bring God’s judgment.   This time of coming judgment was called “the day of the Lord”.  (Joel 1:15, 2:1,11 31, 3:14)

Joel called the people to fast and pray for God’s mercy.  God gives grace to the humble and if God’s people will humble themselves and pray and seek His face, turning from their wicked ways, He will hear from heaven and heal their land.  (2nd Chronicles 7:14)  “Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly.  Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.  Alas for that day!  For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.” (Joel 1:14-15)

Desperate times call for passionate intercession and heart-felt repentance! “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  Rend you hearts and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.” (Joel 2:12-13)  God will always respond to a people who are demonstrating a genuine repentance.  God has been known to change His mind about judgment when His people call out.   He even responds when Gentiles call on Him, as the book of Jonah demonstrates!

Joel also saw God gathering the nations in the Valley of Jehoshaphat for judgment concerning how they treated His inheritance.  There would be a great army gathered there and God would sit in judgment. ” “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.  Come, trample the grapes,  for the winepress is full and the vats overflow–so great is their wickedness!” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!  For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:13-14)  Many think of this verse as viewing the people who have opportunity to decide for the Lord.  That is not the case!  These people have decided against God and God is making His decision to judge them!  This is a place to avoid by repentance!

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