Five times, “the day of the LORD” is mentioned in Joel (1:5; 2:1; 2:11; 2:31; 3:14). This “day” is talking about a period of time in which the LORD is intervening in the affairs of men and nations in very dramatic and visible ways, a time in which the Lord judges those who sin against Him and exalts those who repent and believe on Him. Various events in the past have been referred to as the day of the Lord, but all of them look forward to “the great and terrible day of the Lord to come” (2:31) when God’s entire end-times program is put into action.
Joel chapter 3 looks at some of the things that will happen in the future:
- the return of Israel from captivity (v.1),
- the judgment of the nations for how they treated Israel (v.2-8),
- a great battle between the Lord and the Gentile nations (v.9-14),
- dramatic cosmic signs in the heavens and on the earth (v.15-16),
- the establishment of the Lord’s throne in Jerusalem (v.17),
- eternal prosperity in Israel (v.18-20), and
- cleansing (perhaps avenging) of blood (v.21).
Understanding that God has a plan (a day) for the future impacts us in many ways. It should cause us to:
- Rest in God’s ultimate justice and judgment when we see injustice all around us.
- Fear the Lord and to want to repent and walk in His ways.
- Treat Israel with respect as a special nation because God will judge nations based on how they treat Israel.
- Rejoice to know that one day Jesus Christ will rule on the throne of Israel over this world.
- Not despair in times of suffering knowing that one day there is a kingdom coming in which all suffering will be done away with.
- Not focus on building our kingdom or other kingdoms of this world because the only kingdom that matters is the kingdom of Christ.