A Stunning Contrast (Joel 2:25-26)

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm– my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.” (Joel 2:25-26)

After reading through the chilling description of “the day of the Lord” in Joel 1, some may be left with an unnerving feeling. But praise God, as more of the prophecy unfolds in Joel 2!

The second chapter of the book of Joel is such a rich and encouraging passage of the Bible, with many notable prophecies and a clear presentation of God’s love and gospel plan in response to His judgment.

What stood out to me the most when reading through it this time, is the stark contrast between God’s hatred of sin and His love for us; the stunning distinction between His jealousy for us and His gracious plan for restoration.

In Joel 1 we learn about the coming judgment of God foreshadowed by the army of locusts. It will be a time in which those who have not trusted in Christ for salvation and payment for their sins will suffer horrendous consequences. In Joel 2:11 it’s clear that “The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?” 

But as we look forward in Joel 2, we see God’s heart for Israel and all His people, that none would have to take on the judgment of sin:

“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” (v13)

“I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations.” (v18-19)

“Be not afraid, O land; be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things.” (v21)

“Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.” (v27)

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” (v28)

Many people look at the “God of the Old Testament” and exclusively think about fiery judgment, swift discipline, and severe punishment. While there absolutely is truth to this, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow– Jesus brings both justice for sin as much as He brings grace and mercy for forgiveness. The verses above clearly show that God’s plan was and is always the same…

Repent and return to the Lord, and as His child, He will pour out His blessings upon you. Praise Him and acknowledge Him as your Lord, and He will make you a royal priesthood that carries His own Name. Trust in Jesus, and He will entrust in You, His very Spirit.

The gospel message was as clear back then as it is now. Yes, God will always stand in complete opposition to sin by the very nature of His holiness, but unlike in the Old Testament, He has now rendered the fullness of His wrath and punishment for all sin on His own Son, Jesus.

No longer do we have to suffer the direct judgment of sin over and over as did the nation of Israel thousands of years ago. The penalty was already paid on the cross, and when we accept His gift and trust in Jesus for salvation, He restores us to God the Father that we would take on His inheritance, His blessings, His character, and His Spirit. This is the stunning contrast I mentioned above… while He hates sin, there is no other love in all of creation that can compare to the love that God has for you and I!

If you haven’t already, trust in Jesus today- there is no justifiable reason to delay. Just as certain as the “day of the Lord” is coming, you can equally rest assured that those who are in Christ will be delivered.

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Joel 2:32a)

[From February 6, 2019]

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