Monday, July 12, 2021

2021.07.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joel 3:1–15

Read Joel 3:1–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What days and time is Joel 3:1 talking about? Whom else will the Lord also gather(Joel 3:2)? Where will He bring them? For what will He judge them? What will all nations have done (Joel 3:2-3)? Whom does He address in Joel 3:4? Whom did they think they were repaying? But what were they doing instead? Upon whose head will their intentions fall? From Whom? How fast? Whom have they ultimately attacked (Joel 3:5)? What else have they done to whom (Joel 3:6)? What will Yahweh do for the people of Judah and Jerusalem (Joel 3:7a–b)? But what will He do to those who sold them (Joel 3:7c –Joel 3:8)? What makes this sure and final (verse 8e)? What is to be proclaimed among whom in Joel 3:9? What do they need to use as weapons (Joel 3:10)? What is their actual condition, but what will they say about themselves for this battle? Who come and gather all around (Joel 3:11)? Whom does Yahweh cause to go down there? Where do the nations go (Joel 3:12)? Why—what is Yahweh doing there? To what does Joel 3:13 compare this judgment? What does the scene look like (Joel 3:14)? What is nearby there? What heavenly signs correspond to His appearance (Joel 3:15)?

There’s a day coming (Joel 3:1a), when the gathering-in of the Lord’s elect ones is complete (verse 1b). And that’s a gathering-day too (Joel 3:2a), but not a pleasant one. It’s a gathering-in to the valley of Yahweh-Judgement (verse 2b)!

Not only will the nations be judged for what they have done to Yahweh Himself, but the Lord so identifies Himself with His people, that He will take everything as personally done to Him that was done to them (cf. Matthew 25:31–46; Acts 9:1–5). When He says “I will enter into judgment with them” (Joel 3:2c) and “What have you to do with Me” (Joel 3:4a), He doesn’t just mean that He is the Judge (though He most certainly is!). He is also the Prosecutor and the Plaintiff. This is why He keeps saying “My.” My people (Joel 3:2d). My heritage (verse 2d). My land (verse 2f). My people (Joel 3:3a). My silver (Joel 3:5a). My gold (verse 5a). My precious good things (verse 5b). How dreadful such a court scene and judgment will be!

There is no payment that can avail in that day, Joel 3:4Joel 3:7. There will be no bargaining in the last day. Even any bargaining now is offensive to God. You have nothing good with which to repay Him for your sin. All of it is marred with sin and demands further retribution. “Will you repay Me? But if you repay Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your repayment upon Your own head” (Joel 3:4c–e, cf. Joel 3:7c).

Because Yahweh’s justice will be exactly corresponding to the wickedness. That’s the point of Joel 3:8 set against the backdrop of Joel 3:3 and Joel 3:6. But again, we see that the crime is not merely against the people of Yahweh, but against Yahweh Himself. This is the great problem of Romans 1:18–21. The wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men is a wrath that is equal to God’s own glory in its intensity. What atonement can possibly avail? Only the propitiating sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Himself (cf. Romans 3:25) so that the righteousness that is given is the very righteousness of God Himself (cf. Romans 1:16–17). This is the only repayment there is to offer, and you are already in the day of laying claim to it. It is appointed to man to die once, then after that the judgment (cf. Hebrews 9:27–28). Will this repayment have been paid for you in that day?

There is no power that can avail in that day, Joel 3:9-15. The valley of Yahweh-Judgment (Joel 3:12a) is filled with multitudes of multitudes (Joel 3:14a) when the day of Yahweh has come near in the valley of decision (verse 14b). The greatest powers that we know in the creation will be nothing by comparison (Joel 3:15), and the mightiest from all the nations (Joel 3:9) will be as trained and able and equipped as crop-farmers (Joel 3:10). All will be weak, and it is a delusion to think that in that day you could be strong against Him. There is nothing that can be done against Him any more than the grape can defend itself against the vintner from being cut down and stomped (Joel 3:13, cf. Revelation 14:6–20). 

The only thing that can possibly avail in that day is to have Yahweh Himself as your atonement and Yahweh Himself as your righteousness, so that it will actually be a day when Yahweh avenges you for Himself, rather than avenging Himself upon you!

How has the Lord given Himself to pay for sins and be righteousness for sinners? How have you taken hold of Him, so that He is your payment and your righteousness? What will the judgment day be like for you?

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song” or TPH389 “Great God, What Do I See and Hear”

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