The Day of the LORD
When I see this phrase—the day of the LORD—I am struck by the power of God who created galaxies as well as the tiniest insect. I am reminded that He rules all that there is and how foolish we are to ignore Him, run from Him and disobey Him.
The prophet Joel speaks loudly and clearly about The Day of the LORD. He writes to warn the people of Judah, the southern kingdom, of God’s impending judgment because of their sins, and to urge them to turn back to God—recognize their foolishness.
Let me quickly give you some background. Joel was a contemporary of Elisha. At this time in Judah a very wicked Queen Athaliah (2 Kings 11), who seized power in a bloody coup, had just been overthrown. Joash was crowned king, but he was only seven years old and in great need of spiritual guidance and help. He followed God in his early years, but sadly, he turned away from Him later in his life.
With that background, you can see why Joel begins he prophecy with the Elders. With such a young king they were in fact ruling the land. They had the power and as the country’s primary leaders, Joel wanted them to take a stand. They needed to lead the people in turning away from their sin and returning to God.
God had given a warning—a plague of locusts had come to discipline the nation of Judah and Joel called the people to turn back to God before an even greater judgment happened.
Joel is so relevant today because all we need to do is look around and see what’s happening all over the world. Not only do we see war with ISIS and continued brutality, an American has been beheaded in Oklahoma and less than two weeks after the President declared it was “unlikely” that Ebola would appear in the U.S. we have two confirmed cases, ten people in quarantine and one hundred people reporting symptoms. We also find our border overrun with illegals, but also incredible natural disasters from volcanoes, earthquakes, drought, tidal waves and tornadoes. Is God sending a message to us? I believe He is.
Joel message is as clear today as it was 2,700 years ago—listen up elders and people. We are living in unprecedented times!
We are called to:
- Wake up. In Joel 1:5 he talks to drunkards. These are people who are intoxicated by their addition to comfort and ease. Joel tells them to wake up because soon their resources will be cut off.
- Lament. Joel 1:8 says, “Lament like a virgin.” God is saying, “I want you to respond to this disaster by lamenting as an engaged virgin whose fiancé has been killed!”
- Blow the trumpet. Joel cries out, “Hear this,” in verse one then, in the first verse of chapter he get more emphatic, “Blow the trumpet.” He’s telling us to sound the alarm because what we’re seeing is just a precursor for what’s coming from God if we don’t wake up, repent and tell others loudly and clearly about Jesus.
Friends, the day of the LORDis coming. There’s three ways we can look at it—personal, national, and eternal. There’s a personal Day of the LORD when you come to Him and ask Him into your heart. There’s a national Day of the LORD when this nation turns from its sin and rebelliousness to God. And, there’s an eternal Day of The LORD when each of us will stand before Jesus and give an account of our lives.
Are you ready? Are you willing to turn to Him with all of your heart? Are you willing to be on your knees for personal and national sin? Are you willing to “return to the LORD, Your God (Joel 2:13)? Are you willing to tell others about Him?
Friends, are you ready to return? It must be wholehearted. It can’t just be an outward expression. It must be sincere. “Rend your heart and not your garments (Joel 2:13)” isn’t a casual saying. It’s a call by God for a radical determination by His people to obey His Word and follow Him.
Are you ready?