Daily Devotional

August 29, 2018

Daybreak: Joel 3:1-21

“The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” (Joel 3:16)

Our son was set to appear before the judge for a traffic violation, and he was apprehensive. We had been instructed by our insurance company to contest the violation, which was given following a traffic accident. The other party involved in the accident had hired an attorney who was calling and harassing us. The police officer who wrote the police report had made some errors in the details of what happened. Then the date for the appearance was postponed. Finally, our own insurance company decided to settle rather than continue the claim. It seemed that there was no hope of clearing our son’s name. Truth and integrity appeared to be of little value. We took the matter to God in prayer. We not only desired that our son be spared, but also that he would learn that integrity and truth actually do matter. We told him, “Our only hope is the Lord. He knows what really happened, so we can trust Him.” 

Even though the insurance claim had been settled, the traffic violation still had to be dealt with. Our son preferred to go to the courthouse alone and face the judge, hoping that the judge would see the truth. When the judge asked what had happened, our son somewhat timidly explained the situation. Without any hesitation the judge answered, “Well, it is obvious that this was not your fault. I will dismiss the violation.” The harassing attorney, the impatient insurance company, and the mistakes of the police officer were all forgotten in a moment. What a joyful son returned home to tell us of God’s intervention! 

At times we may look at a judge only in negative terms and be afraid to go before him, but judgment can also be positive. God’s judgment against sin is strong and terrible, yet He has provided a way for His judgment to be satisfied before it falls upon us. That way is through Jesus Christ who gave His life in place of ours as payment for our sin. He died to give us hope! 

Our Judge is also our Savior. Without Him, we face a lost eternity and are hopeless. However, if we take advantage of His offer of salvation, we have the hope of eternal life. “The Lord will be the hope of his people.” 

Background

Chapters 1 and 2 are prophetical utterances related to Israel. In chapter 3, the prophet revealed God’s judgment upon all the earth. This portion of the Book of Joel begins with the account God had kept concerning the nations that had persecuted His people. Tyre and Zidon (Sidon) were located northeast of Israel along the Mediterranean Sea, and the “coasts of Palestine” referred to the southern coasts which were occupied by the Philistines. Even in their rebellion God loved His people, and He promised to turn things around and bring judgment on these nations rather than His people. God promised to recompense the selling of Jews to the Grecians by allowing the children of Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia to be sold to the Sabeans. The Sabeans were inhabitants of Arabia, which was where the Queen of Sheba had come from a century earlier. 

Although the final “day of the Lord” will bring peace and tranquility, it will be prefaced with a time of devastation that the world has never known. The “valley of Jehoshaphat,” referred to in verse 12, may be used figuratively, as it means “valley of decision, or judgment.” God calls us to repentance and decision for Him but ultimately, rejection of His message will bring His judgment. 

Joel’s prophecy concluded with a beautiful contrast to God’s impending judgment, in which he described God’s mercy and provision extended to His people. There will be new wine, milk, and flowing rivers in place of the desolation of famine, burned land, and drought. Every major city in antiquity was located by a river (Alexandria — Nile; Rome — Tiber; Nineveh — Tigris; Babylon — Euphrates), but the promise for Jerusalem is a river that will flow out of the house of the Lord. This river is mentioned in Ezekiel 47 and also in Revelation 22:1. The desolation of Egypt and Edom, which was brought about because they had shed innocent blood, is contrasted with the fruitfulness and surety of Judah and Jerusalem, which will be brought about through the cleansing of their blood by the Lord. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III.   The day of the Lord in the latter time
      D.   The judgment of the nations (3:1-17)
            1.   The time of the judgment (3:1)
            2.   The participants in the judgment and the basis for the judgment (3:2-6)
                  a.   The dispersion of Israel (3:2)
                  b.   The enslavement of Israel (3:3)
                  c.   The pillage of Israel (3:4-6)
            3.   The result of the judgment (3:7-8)
            4.   The gathering for the judgment (3:9-12)
            5.   The actuality of the judgment (3:13-16)
            6.   The result of the judgment (3:17)
      E.   The blessing of Israel (3:18-21)
            1.   The description of Israel’s blessing (3:18)
            2.   The desolation of Israel’s enemies (3:19)
            3.   The duration of Israel’s blessing (3:20)
            4.   The activity of Israel’s God (3:21)

A Closer Look

  1. List three of the charges God made against the enemies of Judah and Jerusalem.
     
  2. In today’s chapter, God promised to deliver Judah. How might God deliver people today?
     
  3. The day of the Lord is a hope to those who are ready to meet God. What steps should we take to prepare for that day?

Conclusion

God is the source of all true hope. We want to allow Him access to our hearts so that the hope of meeting Him is bright in our souls.

Reference Materials