Joel 1 … Consider His Day that is Coming

Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is near,
And it will come as destruction from the Almighty,

It was an abrupt collision, after leaving the story of Hosea with the repeated reminders of God’s Redeeming Love, then a brief stop in Philemon to find ourselves in awe of His Transforming Redemption, to turn the page and run smack into His all-consuming judgment; a judgment like nothing ever seen before.

Hear this, O elders,
And listen, all inhabitants of the land.
Has anything like this happened in your days
Or in your fathers’ days?

And while scholars debate whether the judgment was that of a literal drought and locusts, or the judgment referenced the invasion of enemy troops on Judah, there is no debate regarding the impact. The land had been left decimated.

What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten;
And what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten;
And what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten,

And Joel calls his people to listen, to tell others, to wake up, to proclaim a fast, to wail and to mourn for His Day that is Coming.

Joel sees the massive locust plague and severe drought devastating Judah as a harbinger of the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” (2:31)… He describes the locusts as the Lord’s army and sees in their coming a reminder that the day of the Lord is near. He does not voice the popular notion that the day will be one of judgment on the nations but deliverance and blessing for Israel. Instead—with Isaiah (2:10-21), Jeremiah (4-9), Amos (5:18-20) and Zephaniah (1:7-8) —he describes the day as one of punishment of unfaithful Israel as well. Restoration and blessing will come only after judgment and repentance,” NIV Study Bible.

Today was no easy read. I searched to find His grace and mercy in this first chapter, but as the NIV Study Bible proposes, His grace and mercy “will come only after judgment and repentance.” And in my search to see Him in the hard places of His coming wrath, I saw His purpose in His judgment. I suddenly saw His judgment as an undeniable gift of His grace and mercy; for He brings His judgment to bring us to repentance, that we would be prepared for His Day that is Coming.

Consider His Day that is Coming

Several passages throughout His God-Breathed Word speak of His Day that is Coming, with prophecies of destruction and desolation to those who refuse to repent.

  • His Day that is Coming will come as destruction.
    • Alas for the day!
      For the day of the Lord is near,
      And it will come as destruction from the Almighty,
  • His Day that is Coming will put an end to sinners.
    • Wail, for the day of the Lord is near!
      It will come as destruction from the Almighty…
      Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
      Cruel, with fury and burning anger,
      To make the land a desolation;
      And He will exterminate its sinners from it,
      (Isaiah 13:6, 9).
  • His Day that is Coming will be a day of vengeance on His enemies.
    • For that day belongs to the Lord God of hosts,
      A day of vengeance, so as to avenge Himself on His foes…
      (Jeremiah 46:10a).
  • His Day that is Coming will be a time of doom for the nations.
    • “For the day is near,
      Even the day of the Lord is near;
      It will be a day of clouds,
      A time of doom for the nations,”
      (Ezekiel 30:3).
  • His Day that is Coming will be darkness instead of light.
    • Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light,
      Even gloom with no brightness in it?
      (Amos 5:20).
  • His Day that is Coming will give us back what we have given.
    • “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations.
      As you have done, it will be done to you.
      Your dealings will return on your own head,”
      (Obadiah 1:15).
  • His Day that is Coming will be a day of wrath, distress, and darkness.
    • Near is the great day of the Lord,
      Near and coming very quickly;
      Listen, the day of the Lord!
      In it the warrior cries out bitterly.
      15 A day of wrath is that day,
      A day of trouble and distress,
      A day of destruction and desolation,
      A day of darkness and gloom,
      A day of clouds and thick darkness
      , (Zephaniah 1:141-5).
  • His Day that is Coming will come like a thief in the night.
    • For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night, (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
  • His Day that is Coming will bring His wrath and none will be able to stand.
    • and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation  6:17).

There is mercy and grace in God’s Judgment as it provides us with an accurate view of His Holy Justice as well as a proper perspective of the depth of our own twisted corruption.

“He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect.
Everything he does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;
how just and upright he is!
5 “But they have acted corruptly toward him;
when they act so perversely, are they really his children?
They are a deceitful and twisted generation,”
(Deuteronomy 32:4-5 NLT).

In His grace and mercy, His judgment on our sin was thoroughly met through the death of His Son, Jesus, Who bore all the punishment and wrath that we deserved and all the debt our sin had earned that we could never pay. An old gospel song by Ellis J. Crum says it perfectly, “He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay.”

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross, (Colossians 2:13-14).

And for all those who understand their need for what only He can pay through His grace and salvation, for all those who acknowledge and mourn their sin, for all those who come to Him in humility, repentance, and faith, His Day that is Coming will bring restoration and blessing, for His justice has been fully satisfied in Christ.

  • His Day that is Coming will be the day when nations will mourn as He gathers His elect from the ends of all the earth.
    • “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other,” (Matthew 24:29-31).
  • His Day that is Coming will be great and glorious as everyone who call on His Name will be saved.
    • The sun will be turned into darkness
      And the moon into blood,
      Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
      21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,’
      (Acts 2:20-21).

How do we respond to His Day that is Coming?

There’s no denying, today was a challenging read. But let us thank Him that He is so brutally honest with us, for it His heart of kindness that discloses His Day that is Coming, that all would come to Him in repentance.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4).

And today is definitely a day that calls for some self-examination, that we would be prepared for His Day that is Coming.

Will we be found written in the book because we have placed our faith in the salvation that is only found in Christ?

“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued, (Daniel 12:1).

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12).

Are we living alert and ready for His Day that is Coming?

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will,” (Matthew 24:42-44).

Are we depending on Him in confident faith, holding on to Him Who is faithful to perfect His work in us until the Day of His Coming?

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, (Philippians 1:6).

Oh, that we would fully understand the futility of putting our hope in this world that is bound for destruction. Let us live always looking for His return, that we would walk in holiness and godliness as we walk by faith in His promise of His Day that is Coming.

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwell, (2 Peter 3:11-12).

Let’s Grow Together!

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