Daily Readings and Thought for November 20th “IN THOSE DAYS”
Just 3 short chapters, what a blunt message the prophecy of Joel contains with the climax in the final chapter we read today. Some of it certainly applies to our days, is it not evident that the first verse today – “in those days” refers to the time in which we are now living. “Days” means “times” and some versions, eg GNB, translate it that way. It obviously means that in v.18 of today’s chapter, not one specific day: “in that day” here refers to the peace and prosperity when Jesus has returned and God’s law is administered from Jerusalem.
Careful students of prophecy are attracted to this chapter, one reason is v.4 “What are you to me O Tyre and Sidon (principal cities in Lebanon today), and all the regions of Philistia?” (now the Gaza strip) These are the two particular areas of unrest today where those live who so strongly resent the existence of the nation of Israel! Yet there are several things in these verses which are not at all clear, at least, not yet, future events will make them clear.
But what is clear is, “let the weak say I am a warrior” [v.10] and the next 2 verses refer specifically to the “surrounding nations” whom God “will sit to judge” [v.12] “for their evil is great” [v.13] “The valley of Jehoshaphat”[v.12] is located between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, it is called the “valley of decision” in v.14 and seems very parallel to Armageddon when God treads his “winepress” (see Rev.14 v.17-20) to punish the nations.
At that time, Joel records, “the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. So you shall know, that I am the LORD your God” [v.16,17] We also noted the words in Ch. 2, “You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” [v.27] There is every reason to believe that “those days” are these days, let us keep our eyes on the Middle East – well, that is where the Bible was mainly written. And why was it written? For everyone who wants to know about God and what he reveals of the future – our future – yours?