9 Proclaim this among the nations:
Consecrate for war;
stir up the mighty men.
Let all the men of war draw near;
let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords,
and your pruning hooks into spears;
let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”
11 Hasten and come,
all you surrounding nations,
and gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O Lord.
12 Let the nations stir themselves up
and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge
all the surrounding nations.
13 Put in the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
for the winepress is full.
The vats overflow,
for their evil is great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes,
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
16 The Lord roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth quake.
But the Lord is a refuge to his people,
a stronghold to the people of Israel.
The prophet Joel is describing the final apocalyptic war that God will bring at the end of time upon his enemies. The hidden God will be revealed. And it won’t be pretty. It won’t be a little baby in a manger we love you. It will be darkened moon and quaking earth.
Since the dawn of time the enemies of God have been waging war against his people. God’s enemies know they can’t actually touch him, so they pick on us. First the Israelites and now the church. This is the war that you and I live in every day. But it will come to a culmination.
Christmas – the season of warfare.
Theologian and author Fleming Rutledge says our role today is two-fold: 1) Active resistance and 2) patient endurance.
Active resistance. Beat your plowshares into swords. Get ready for war. Let the weak say “I am a warrior.” The enemies of God are real and they are evil. They must be resisted by the church. As our brothers and sisters in China are doing right now.
Patient waiting. Hope. The way we wage this spiritual war is by waiting. Waiting for Christ to return and living in hope of that day. We fight by resting. We fight by standing still. We take up a cross not a sword. We are being killed yet conquerors (Rom. 8:36-37).
The day of the Lord is near (Joel 3:14).
This is our Advent. Waiting for the war. Resisting. Enduring. This is “to live is Christ.” We are behind enemy lines wearing the armor of God. The armor of love and righteousness against the enemies of the Kingdom of Light.
What will this war look like for you today? How can you resist and endure? How does your union with Christ strengthen you for this daily war and fill you for hope for the final battle against evil?
Another apocalyptic song of Christ’s final victory!