Monday after the Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Joel 3:1-13 (NKJV)
1 “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 “I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.
3 “They have cast lots for My people, have given a boy as payment for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.
4 “Indeed, what have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Philistia? Will you retaliate against Me? But if you retaliate against Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your retaliation upon your own head;
5 “Because you have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My prized possessions.
6 “Also the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem you have sold to the Greeks, that you may remove them far from their borders.
7 “Behold, I will raise them out of the place to which you have sold them, and will return your retaliation upon your own head.
8 “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 people far off; For the LORD has spoken.”
9 Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake 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 strong.'”
11 Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD.
12 “Let the nations be wakened, 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. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, the vats overflow—for their wickedness is great.”
Today we look upon the judgment scene of our Lord Jesus Christ’s return in glory on the Last Day of this age that runs throughout Holy Scripture. The words of the prophet that make up the final verse of our text are echoed by Christ in the Gospel according to Mark (4:29) as well as John in Revelation (14:14, 18-19). In all these accounts the theme is the same: the Lord’s chosen elect are mercifully redeemed from the sin filled world, but those who oppose Him and His will are delivered into God’s holy and just wrath.
The “valley of Jehoshaphat” is to be understood as denoting the scene of God’s final judgment on the enemies of His people. Even though this text uses many terms associated with the pain and misery of war we see this as a location of the greatest joy for we are judged by pure grace through faith in Jesus Christ. For our Lord fights for us and through us “…against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12)
We pray: Almighty heavenly Father, allow us to see Your abundantly gracious hand in all things. Lead us to perceive all of this present temporal life through the lens of eternal life won for us by Christ, crucified and raised—and the precious treasures of redemption abundantly delivered here and now through His holy Means of Grace found in His Bride, the Church. Amen.