The Most Important Day In HistoryNovember 21-25
The Day of the Lord
“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,” – Joel 3:1 (ESV)
The operation was the largest single-day invasion of all time. Just under 200,000 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel delivered over 130,000 troops along a stretch of the Normandy coast in France. They, in turn, were supported by 12,000 aircraft flying 14,000 sorties. These invaders’ goal was to get past the well-entrenched German army that was 250,000 troop strong. June 6th, 1944, “D-Day” as we now simply call it, was a pivotal day in the Second World War. It opened the way for the destruction of the Nazis and the deliverance of Europe. That day will pale in comparison to the Divine D-Day that is coming. This D-Day will not just lead to but be a day of destruction for unbelievers and a day of deliverance for believers. (Daniel Habben)
Joel 3:1 immediately grabs the reader’s attention with “Behold!” He then describes the Day of the Lord. In fact, what follows summarizes the judgment of the world as we know it. The term the Day of the Lord occurs 25 times in 23 verses, including the books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Malachi, Acts, I & II Thessalonians, and II Peter. The Day of the Lord is not a term that applies to a twenty-four-hour period. It refers to a whole schedule of events. These events will include the end of this age when God will move mightily on behalf of His Chosen People, the nation of Israel, and judge the lost!
The word “behold” can be one of excitement or one of fear. When you think about the last days does it give you excitement or fear? Why should someone fear the Day of the Lord and why should someone look forward to the Day of the Lord?
Praise God for His promise to one day rid the world of evil and cure all sins and curses.
A Day of Decision – Will Judgment Really Come?
“I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land,”– Joel 3:2 (ESV)
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on!
Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” after visiting a Union Army Camp on the Potomac River near Washington D.C. in December of 1861. While visiting the army camp, she heard a favorite marching song of the Union Army. The song was originally titled “Say Brothers Will You Meet Us.” Reverend James Freeman Clark challenged Julia Ward Howe into writing a poem with a more powerful message for the marching song. That same night Julia Ward Howe dreamed the first line and awoke with it on her mind in the middle of the night. The Atlantic Monthly paid her five dollars for the poem and published it in 1862, James T. Field of The Atlantic Monthly named the poem “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The chaplain of the 122nd Ohio Regiment taught it to Union soldiers everywhere. It is said that President Abraham Lincoln was so moved by the song, he wept when he heard it.
Joel 3:2 teaches that someday, God will summon all the nations of the world to gather for war to fight against Israel. They will march into the Valley of Jehoshaphat and face the Army of the Lord. At that time, God will pour out His wrath upon all the nations. “I will gather all the nations” signifies God is sovereign and in control. Here is God summoning the Gentile nations to court. They’ll be judged for the sins committed against His people Israel. They will be judged for four reasons. They, 1) Scattered God’s people, 2) Divided God’s people, 3) Sold God’s people, and 4) Robbed God’s people.
God promises to judge those who have rejected Him and His plan of redemption. God’s reputation is at stake if He does not follow through on His promises. Why do you think people continue to ignore God’s promise of coming judgment? Why do you think people ignore God’s offer of grace and forgiveness?
Praise God for His righteousness and for keeping His promises. Ask God to give our nation a sense of urgency about the coming Day of the Lord.
A Day of Destruction – What Will Judgment Be Like?
Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great. — Joel 3:12-13 (ESV)
A man who was sentenced to death but obtained a delay of execution by assuring the king he would teach his majesty’s horse to fly within a year — in the condition that if he failed he would be put to death at the end of the year. The man hoped that within a year the king may die, or he may die, or the horse may die. In a year, who knows? Maybe the horse will learn to fly! (Jesse Roncalis)
Joel 3:12-13 describes a season when time runs out and the world will experience the judgment and destruction of God. Joel gives a metaphorical description of the sin of the nations as “ripe” and “ready to be harvested.” The irony of the harvesting metaphor is that normally harvesting grapes or grains were a time of joy and celebration of life, but here it is a time of gloom and certainty of death to the lost forces. The harvest was not one of ripe grain, but ripe sinners! The vats overflow, for their wickedness, is great – Vats are pictured as filled with their sins, which are so great that the vat could not hold them all! Joel says those will be dark days.
There will come a time when God says “that’s enough.” In what ways can you see the vats of sin filling up in our world? In what ways can you see the dark days approaching in our nation?
Praise God for His promise to one day get rid of everything wrong in the world. Ask God to help you shine like a light in the darkness of your community.
A Day of Deliverance – How Can You Escape Judgement?
The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earthquake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. – Joel 3:16 (ESV)
King Frederick II, an eighteenth-century king of Prussia, was visiting a prison in Berlin, and the inmates tried to prove to him how they had been unjustly imprisoned. All except one. That one sat quietly in a corner, while all the rest protested their innocence. Seeing him sitting there oblivious to the commotion, the king asked him what he was there for. “Armed robbery, Your Honor.” The king asked, “Were you guilty?” “Yes, Sir,” he answered. “I entirely deserve my punishment.” The king then gave an order to the guard: “Release this guilty man. I don’t want him corrupting all these innocent people.”
Confession is the path to forgiveness with God. In Joel 3:16 the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people. On The Day of the Lord, some people will be shaking but other people will find shelter. God will remember to have mercy on His people. And in this time at the end of the Great Tribulation, He will indeed be a Refuge for everyone (Jew and Gentile) who “calls on the Name of the LORD” for they “will be delivered” from destruction.
Jesus is a Refuge only for His people, those who have repented of their sins and placed their faith in Him. When Jesus comes, there will be no second chance to believe in Him. We will inherit the kingdom of God. Have you ever experienced an earthquake? How is the shelter people find in an earthquake similar to the shelter we can find in Christ?
Praise God for being a shelter in the storms today but also in the judgment to come. Pray for friends and family who have still not trusted Christ to find refuge in Jesus from the coming judgment.
The Blessings of the Day of the Lord
“And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Shittim. — Joel 3:18 (ESV)
One stormy night an elderly couple entered the lobby of a small hotel and asked for a room. The clerk said they were full and they would probably find all the hotels in town were full. “But I can’t send a fine couple like you out in the rain. Would you be willing to sleep in my room?” The couple hesitated, but the clerk insisted.
The next morning when the man paid his bill, he said, “You’re the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the United States. Someday I’ll build you one.” The clerk smiled politely. A few years later the clerk received a letter containing an airplane ticket; the letter invited him to visit New York. When the clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street, where stood a magnificent new building. “That,” explained the man, “is the hotel I have built for you to manage.” The man was William Waldorf Astor, and the hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria.
In Joel 3:18 God promises that one day He will shower His people with great blessings. The most important day in history will be the biggest blessing in history for believers. God promises the mountains of Israel will be so full of grapevines that they could be described as dripping with wine. There will be so many milk-yielding animals feeding on the luxuriant hills that the hills could be said to flow with milk. These are all symbols of God’s abundant blessings to come.
What are some of the blessings you have already started to receive from God? What are some of the blessings you are looking forward to receiving in heaven?
Praise God for supplying everything you need with abundance. Ask God to help you keep perspective that this world and worldly troubles are temporary.