People rarely read the Minor Prophets. That’s no secret. They’re mostly short books, so they’re often flipped right over on accident, and they’re usually not real peachy. The book of Joel isn’t much different.
Joel is a textbook prophet, though. The prophets’ ultimate job was to pronounce, on behalf of the LORD, blessing and judgment on God’s people. If they obeyed God, they’d be rewarded. If they disobeyed, they would experience His wrath. We should not avoid these parts of Scripture because they’re terrifying or seem less important than, say, the book of Psalms or the Gospels. But every word of God’s Word has a word for us. Yes, even the book of Joel.
No doubt, it can be difficult to read passages like today’s and find them applicable to us. But that may be, at least in part, because we don’t understand the goodness of God’s warning of judgment. None of us like to be disciplined, but as we’re told in Hebrews, our Father’s discipline is for our good. Good dads discipline their children (Hebrews 12:6-11).
In this passage, we see words like “tremble” and “devastation,” but we also see the promise of God’s salvation. God disciplines because He loves, and He judges because He cares about righteousness. His awesome presence ought to cause holy fear and trembling, and yet, we also know that He is good and merciful to those who love Him.
Remember the words of Romans 10:13: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” This is why Jesus was sent into the world. In love, the Father sent Him for our salvation. He saw our sin, and sent His Son to die for it. He heard our cries, even the cries we didn’t know how to let out (Romans 8:26-27).
If His coming brings fear in your heart, if His discipline feels too strong, you’re invited to cry out to Him. He is not detached. He listens. He hears. He responds. Call on His name.
Written by Brandon D. Smith