The Lord Judges the Nations
3 “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it.
“What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will return your payment on your own head swiftly and speedily. For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their own border. Behold, I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will return your payment on your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away, for the LORD has spoken.”
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.
Beat your plowshares into swords,
and your pruning hooks into spears;
let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”
Hasten and come,
all you surrounding nations,
and gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O LORD.
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.
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.
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the LORD is near
in the valley of decision.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
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 Glorious Future of Judah
“So you shall know that I am the LORD your God,
who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain.
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
and strangers shall never again pass through it.
“And in that day
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
and the hills shall flow with milk,
and all the streambeds of Judah
shall flow with water;
and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD
and water the Valley of Shittim.
“Egypt shall become a desolation
and Edom a desolate wilderness,
for the violence done to the people of Judah,
because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
But Judah shall be inhabited forever,
and Jerusalem to all generations.
I will avenge their blood,
blood I have not avenged,
for the LORD dwells in Zion.”
Joel 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”Joel 3:14
This short book climaxes with the judgment of God and the beauty of what takes place for those who survive this Day of the Lord. As the chapter opened up God said he would gather the nations to stand before him in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, all will be gathered before Him one day to give an account of their life. This is often something most shy away from in discussion, simply because no one wants to consider the ramifications of our own accountability much less the standing before God on His Day.
Yet, it is coming.
There’s a richness to this chapter though as these words give a warning to all that this day will come. So many times we want to push things off to the side and not consider such an event at the end of the age. But God still in his mercy and truly grace continues to give a chance before that return for full-on repentance.
Theologians state this valley of decision refers to this great judgment. In essence, though, we stand in a valley of decision day after day with the choices we make, the paths we decide upon. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit who prompts our hearts in ways that bring conviction and prod our thinking but in essence, we still come down to a choice we make. We still many times stand in a valley of decision as to what we’re going to do. Temporary fulfillment does not compensate for eternal sorrow.
God’s grace will continue to woo and call us toward Him. He will do so until that great Day of the Lord.
Joel 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Judgment is the theme here – specifically with those who are against God and against his people. A lot of times, we seem to think that God casually watches as his people are ravaged and murdered. Because we don’t see immediate justice, we think that God has let it slide. We can see in this chapter of Joel that is not the case. He remembers every offense, and the bar is set higher than we can imagine. In fact, He says He will march each nation down to be judged for their actions.
There is also a heavy theme of harvesting taking place which builds upon the previous chapters.
“The use of harvesting imagery in the Book of Joel is complex. It begins in terms of the great scarcity resulting from the locust plague (Ch. 1). Then there is a promised renewal of agriculture with the return of God’s blessing to His repentant people (Joe 2:18-27). Here, the riches of renewed agriculture serve as a mocking backdrop for a world in conflict. In Joe 3:18-21, there is a final renewal of agriculture because of the blessing of the resident King.”Nelson’s New Testament Commentary
Judgment is a given for all of us. We will all be held accountable for what we have done in this life. With Jesus as our Savior, we know the judgment for our sins will be covered. It has already been paid. This is why we can read these verses without fear, rejoicing that God will one day eradicate all evil from our sight.
Reading about God’s judgment should make us pause. There is no one more powerful, magnificent, or fair. When we see God for the judge He is, we see Christ’s sacrifice in its purest form, and are filled with joy, love, and gratitude for the life we now are given through Him.