Joel 3 … Consider His Valley of Decision

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
For the day of the
Lord is near in the valley of decision, (3:14).

Joel; a book short on chapters but certainly not on substance. And while substantial deliberation is directed towards His judgment, this book ends with the promise of hope and restoration when His people are brought into the fullness of His Presence on His Holy Mountain.

Then you will know that I am the Lord your God,
Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain.
So Jerusalem will be holy,
And strangers will pass through it no more,
(3:17).

This promise of hope and restoration specifically relates to Jerusalem and the nation of Israel and is yet to be fulfilled. But in His promise to His chosen people was the mystery of the gospel of Christ yet to be revealed. His promise was extended to not only the Jew, but to the Gentile; for His promise of salvation is to all who become fellow heirs and sharers in the promise through faith in Christ.

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus., (Ephesians 3:4-6 NIV).

And His Day is Coming when all nations will be gathered before Him in His Valley of Decision. Four times, God refers to this actual place: twice as the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and twice as the Valley of Decision.

From NIV Study Bible:

Valley of Jehoshaphat see v. 12. Called the “valley of decision” in v. 14, it seems to be a symbolic name for a valley near Jerusalem that is here depicted as the place of God’s ultimate judgment on the nations gathered against Jerusalem… There King Jehoshaphat had witnessed one of the Lord’s historic victories over the nations (see 2 Ch 20:1-30).

valley of decision. the valley of Jehoshaphat (judgment) of vv. 2, 12. “Jehoshaphat” speaks of God’s role as Judge… Here “decision” (from a different Hebrew word) refers to the heavenly Judge’s decision or judicial decree. The valley is now viewed as the place where the decree will be executed.

His Day is Coming when He Will Restore the Years the Locusts Have Eaten, and all will be gathered to His Valley of Decision, this time to witness the greatest victory ever achieved in all of history.

Consider His Valley of Decision

In His Valley of Decision, God will restore the fortunes of His people and He will execute His Judgment on those who have made themselves His enemies.

His Word is clear; apart from faith in Christ, we are His enemies with no hope of reconciliation on our own.

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight, (Colossians 1:21-22 NKJV).

And while we were His enemies, He died for us that we could be spared the judgment we deserve, and be forever reconciled to God through faith in His death.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation, (Romans 5:10-11).

All will face Him in His Valley of Decision. And the scene Joel described is also depicted in the prophecy recorded in Revelation.

  • Those who are His enemies will face His wrath in His Valley of Decision.
    • Let the nations be aroused
      And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat,
      For there I will sit to judge
      All the surrounding nations.
      13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.
      Come, tread, for the wine press is full;
      The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.
      14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
      For the day of the
      Lord is near in the valley of decision.
      15 The sun and moon grow dark
      And the stars lose their brightness,
      (2:12-15).

      • And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18 Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles, (Revelation 14:17-20).
  • But in His Valley of Decision, all those who have been adopted into His family by faith, will live in His Holy Presence as a Refuge and Stronghold from sorrow and death and from mourning and pain on His Holy Mountain, His new Jerusalem, forever.
    • The Lord roars from Zion
      And utters His voice from Jerusalem,
      And the heavens and the earth tremble.
      But the
      Lord is a refuge for His people
      And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.
      17 Then you will know that I am the
      Lord your God,
      Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain.
      So Jerusalem will be holy,
      And strangers will pass through it no more,
      (3:16-17).

      • Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4).

How do we respond to His Valley of Decision?

The study of apologetics is simply defined as “the defense of the Christian faith,” and is derived from the Greek word, “apologia” which refers to a defense made in a court of law. In defending Christianity, the apologist will face three primary reasons (intellectual, emotional, volitional) that people reject the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Intellectual: some whose worldview is shaped by their intellectual understanding of science and philosophy determine that the teachings of Christianity do not align with their intellectual perception of the world.

Emotional: some deny Christianity, not for lack of intellectual evidence, but due to the pain and sorrow of life that they find impossible to reconcile with the idea of a loving God; and perhaps they have been wronged by people who profess to follow Christ.

Volitional: some simply refuse because they don’t want anyone else telling them how to live, they refuse to yield their will to God, even if it does make sense intellectually.

And while only some have intellectual opposition, and only some have emotional skepticism, every one of us must deal with our own volitional objections. Which brings us in a sense, to our own Valley of Decision.

All of us must make our own decision, and that is a matter of our will. Will we decide to bow our knee in surrender, receive His gift of eternal life and be spared His eternal judgment through faith in Christ? Or will we reject Him and face His judgment in His Valley of Decision?

If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day,” (John 12:47-48).

For the believer, His Valley of Decision is a place we look forward to with joyful anticipation, as we will be ushered into the place of His Presence forever. But those who have rejected Him, for whatever reason, will face the horrific reality of His wrath, and be separated from Him for all eternity.

Oh, that we would truly be moved by eternity! Let us ask Him to grow in us His heart of love and patience for the lost.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:9).

God’s heart is that all would come to repentance, and He has given us the mission to share His message of salvation that many would be spared from eternal judgment in His Valley of Decision.

Each of the three reasons described above are more than adequately defended in the Word of God; He has provided His God-Breathed evidence to defend His Truth. Let us pray we would be sensitive to and dependent on the Holy Spirit’s leading to enable us to lovingly answer the questions and objections we encounter.

Let us willfully commit to reverent devotion to Christ and the study of His Word that we would always be ready to give our “apologia” for the Truth, that many would meet Him in His Valley of Decision, not to face Him trembling before His judgment, but in assurance through surrendered faith in Christ and thereby knowing Him as a Refuge and Stronghold, as the Lord their God.

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence, (1 Peter 3:15).

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and moon grow dark
And the stars lose their brightness.
16 The Lord roars from Zion
And utters His voice from Jerusalem,
And the heavens and the earth tremble.
But the Lord is a refuge for His people
And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.
17 Then you will know that I am the Lord your God,
Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain.
So Jerusalem will be holy,
And strangers will pass through it no more,
(3:14-17).

Let’s Grow Together!

Leave a Reply