The Lord Dwells in Zion
Sovereign God, I make a highway for You through the wilderness of my life. Yes, I clear a way for You.
Read Joel 3:1-21
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
It is a great feeling to know we are secure in the hand of God, rather than caught in the grip of circumstances.
Why would God trouble himself to discipline his people? Why all the devastating locust and military attacks, the ups and downs of history? The answer lies in a key idea in Joel, “The Lord dwells in Zion!” (21). It is the grand conclusion of the book. God made a covenant with his people. They were unfaithful and failed often, but God patiently disciplined them, and in all the good and bad times he was keen to demonstrate to Judah and the world that he dwelled in the midst of his people. This will be his final point (Ezek. 48:35).
God’s actions will conclude with the restoration of the fortunes of his people (1). God will put a decisive end to all the enemies of his people in a final battle where God will judge (12) all nations (see Rev. 19:11-21). All those who attacked God’s people are themselves sinful; they were only instruments in the hands of God, who was disciplining and perfecting his people. Like a mighty lion, the Lord will roar from Zion (16), and it will be more terrifying than any locust or military attack or any disaster the world has ever seen. It will be judgment time, and it will be a totally terrifying day (see Heb. 10:31).
Everyone stands in the “valley of decision” (14)–referring to God’s final judgment based on their choice on what their position would be on the day of the Lord (see Dan. 12:2: Matt. 25:31-46). For those who turn (or return) to God in Christ, “the Lord will be a refuge … a stronghold” (16). The others will be exposed to unimaginable danger and judgment. The choice is ours. God’s people will discover that God dwells in Zion, and therefore it will be a safe place (Psa. 46:11). God offers forgiveness (21), salvation, safety and blessing. The choice is ours.
Think of the “multitudes in the valley of decision.” How many of them come into contact with you regularly? What will you do about it?
Father, I admit that often I forget the big picture and get overwhelmed by the present. I thank You for this reminder that You are in charge of history and my history.
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