The Word for today: Joel 2:18-3:21
Mark this verse: Joel 3:16 The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.
Walking around us everyday are people with collections of broken relationships hanging around their necks. You and I probably have some of our own. It's one of the inherent risks of living on this planet- we hurt people and they hurt us. We're all part of that unending circle of "hurting people - hurting people."
The weight of the broken necklace can seem tolerable in comparison to the expense of repair. It's hard work and risky. Attempts at mending broken relationships very often end in "settling" for a cease fire.
Once in while though, it all comes together; hurts exposed, apologies given, amends made, forgiveness overflowing. It's a whole new relationship, but stonger and with the potential to go deeper. Full reconciliation; all is well. The relationship has life.
Here in Joel, God shows us how it's done. Consequences, repentance, forgiveness and restoration it's all right here. God's way. God fully restores.
God takes it farther though than we can as human beings. The LORD shows up as Judge. "The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed(Ps.103:6)." His justice is perfect. It's justice that doesn't plea down the offense, turn a blind eye or diminish the penalty. Because Our God is righteous he requires justice.
We need it too. We know in our souls that in order for God's reconciliation though the blood of Jesus to be effective, full justice is required. The cup that Christ drank down at the cross had to contain all our iniquity- to the brim. Jesus had to pay it all. Our relationship with God is provided by the righteous of His Son. We have confidence in Jesus, our righteousness, justice served for me, for eternity.
As judge, God also proves Himself the true champion of the oppressed and innocent, "He roars from Zion(3:16)." His outrage at those who harm and oppress will not be held back forever. Joel's prophesy promises a Day of Judgement. God is good, His holiness demands justice. What a relief for those of us who have been denied justice. There is a day coming when God promises to set things right.
At the end of Joel, the heading in my NKJV says, "God Blesses His People." From locusts to blessing in three chapters. Fear is replaced with confidence, hunger with fullness, uncertainty with safety, death with life because "...the LORD will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel." Fully reconciled they receive the good that the LORD always desired for them.