Biblical prophets compare the coming judgment from God to the roaring of a lion,
a sound that makes everyone tremble (Joel 3:16, Amos 1:2, 3:8). In the Bible, Zion designates the location of God’s earthly throne in Jerusalem. From this place God will punish the enemy, but at the same time He will vindicate His people who patiently await His victory. They will share in His triumph when He renews creation.
To some people the Scripture’s portrayals of God’s final judgment are difficult to comprehend. It is good to keep in mind that evil and sin are very real, and that their forces are strong in trying to oppose God and to destroy every form of life. God is an enemy of evil. That is why Joel’s words invite us to examine our lives in order to be sure that we are on God’s side so that we can be sheltered on the day of judgment.
Read Matthew 10:28-31. How do these texts help us to understand, even during calamitous times, what we have been given in Jesus?
The Lord sustains those persons who persevere in faith. He may bring desolations upon the earth (Joel 3:1-15); yet, His people should not fear His acts of sovereign judgments because He has promised to protect them (verse 16). He has given them His word of assurance. His sovereign and gracious acts demonstrate that He is a faithful covenant God who never again will allow the righteous to be put to shame (Joel 2:27).
Joel’s book ends with a vision of a transformed world where a river flows in the midst of the New Jerusalem, the very presence of the eternal God among a forgiven people (Joel 3:18-21).
This prophetic message challenges us to walk in the Spirit, to pursue Christian living wholeheartedly, and to reach out to all who yet have not called on the name of Christ. As we do, we claim the divine promise of Christ’s abiding presence through the Holy Spirit who dwells in the hearts of His faithful people.
“We must know our real condition, or we shall not feel our need of Christ’s help. We must understand our danger, or we shall not flee to the refuge. We must feel the pain of our wounds, or we should not desire healing.”—Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 158. What is your understanding of your own “real condition”? What pains are you suffering? How have you experienced the “refuge” promised to us in Christ?