Daily Family Worship

Joel 3: The Lord Reigns and Judges!

by | Nov 11, 2023

joel 3

In the close of the foregoing chapter, we had a gracious promise of deliverance in Mount Zion and Jerusalem; and now this whole chapter is a commentary upon that promise – showing what that deliverance shall be, how it shall be worked out by the destruction of the Church’s enemies, and how it shall be perfected in the everlasting rest and joy of the Church. This promise of deliverance was partially accomplished in the deliverance of Jerusalem from the attack that King Sennacherib of Assyria made upon it in King Hezekiah’s time, and it also had a limited fulfillment in the return of the Jews out of their captivity in Babylon. Other deliverances were also brought about for the Jews between the return from that exile and the coming of Christ the Messiah. But the promise has a further reference to the great redemption worked out for us by Jesus, and to the destruction of our spiritual enemies and all their agents; and it will have its full and ultimate accomplishment in the judgment of the Great Last Day. These promises were written for our learning, so “that we, through patience and comfort of this scripture, might have hope!”

Throughout the pages of Scripture, we often hear of “the year of the redeemed,” and “the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.” And now, in this chapter, we have a description of the transactions of that year, and a prophecy of what shall be done whenever it comes – for it comes often; and at the end of time, it will come once and for all. It shall be “the year of the redeemed,” for God will bring again the captivity of His exiled people (verse 1). Although the bondage of His people may be grievous and very long, it shall not be everlasting. The Israelites’ slavery in Egypt finally ended in their deliverance into the glorious liberty of the children of God. And their captivity in Babylon likewise ended well. In the same way, the Lord Jesus provides for the effectual redemption of poor enslaved souls from under the dominion of sin and Satan; and He proclaims the Year of Jubilee and the opening of the prison to those who are bound therein. And there is a time appointed for the ultimate return of the captivity of God’s children, and for the redeeming of them from the power of the grave; and that time shall be the Great Last Day, and the end of all time.

This time is also referred to as “the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion” – for although God may allow the enemies of His people to prevail against them for a long time, yet He will ultimately call them to an account for it. The enemies of the Lord are charged with being very abusive to His people (verses 2-3) – for they had scattered them among the nations, and forced them to seek shelter wherever they could find a place; or they carried them captive into their respective countries, and there dispersed them. Those that contend with God and touch His people – the apple of His eye – will find themselves unable to stand against Him. It is certain that no one ever hardened his heart against God or His Church, and prospered for very long.

That which the Psalmist had long before ordered to be said among the heathen (Ps. 96:10), the prophet here commands to be published to all nations: “The Lord reigns, and He comes to judge the earth!” A challenge is here issued to all the enemies of God’s Kingdom – daring them to do their worst. Jehovah is preparing war against them, and they are called upon to prepare war against Him (verses 9-11). Let the heathen rage, and let the kings of the earth take counsel together against the Lord and His Christ; but He Who sits in heaven shall laugh at them and deride them! (Ps. 2:1, 4).

Those who fall under the wrath of God on the great and solemn Day of Judgment shall be cut off from all comfort and joy; and this is signified by the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars (verse 15). For the wicked, this will be a terrible day indeed (verse 16); for the voice of God will speak such terror to the wicked, that it will make even the heavens and the earth to tremble. When God comes to pull down and destroy His enemies, and make them His footstool – even if heaven and earth would stand up in defense of them and undertake their protection, it would all be in vain. But to the righteous, this Great Last Day will be a joyful day! When the heavens and the earth shall tremble and be dissolved and burnt up, then the Lord will be the hope of His people and the strength of the children of Israel (verse 16). Their longings shall be satisfied; for as the Lord was always the Founder and Foundation of their hopes, He will then be the Crown of their hopes. He will be the harbor of His people – their refuge and their home. In that Great Day, the saints shall arrive at their desired haven after their stormy voyage; they shall go to be forever at home in their Father’s house, which is not built with hands. Their holiness shall also be perfected (verse 17); Jerusalem shall then be the holy city indeed; for the Bride of Jesus is a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing! And in all of this, God shall be manifested and magnified. “So shall you know that I am the Lord your God,” He says (verse 17). By the sanctifying and glorifying of the Church, He makes Himself known in His holiness and glory; and those who are sanctified and glorified are made holy also, through Him Who has called them. It is also promised that the enemies of the Church shall be vanquished and brought down (verse 19), and that she shall be blessed with purity, plentiful abundance, and perpetuity! (verses 18-21)

Lord, we praise You as the righteous Judge of all the earth, Who will arise and execute justice upon all the enemies of Yourself and Your people! Amen.

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