Today you finished Joel – let’s go to 2 Peter next. It only has three chapters so you can finish the entire book in three days!
Joel 3:20-21, “But Judah will be filled with people forever, and Jerusalem will endure through all generations. I will pardon my people’s crimes, which I have not yet pardoned…” (NLT)
I’ve been blessed to serve in a lot interesting events. Because of the business I owned and the work I do there have been times I’ve been involved in fairly large concert or conference events. It’s fun to walk in the backdoor of a large venue like the Lloyd Noble Arena or the Mabee Center, walk up to security and be waived on through without even mentioning my name. It’s not my reputation or appearance that gets me in. It’s the back stage pass that hangs around my neck. Because of that pass I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with some fairly well known Christian artists. Because of that pass I’ve been part of some incredible events that have influenced a generation.
I have a friend who is Jewish. Every time we talk about the gospel he tells me he’s not looking to ‘convert’. I remind him that Jews don’t convert to Christianity. A Jew receives their Messiah as Savior. They simply have to recognize that Jesus is that Messiah. He then follows up with. “Nope. I’m Jewish. It’s like having the ultimate backstage pass.”
To some degree he’s right. The Jewish people have enjoyed front row seats to the divine story of God’s relentless affection for his creation. They’ve taken the behind-the-scenes tour of God’s amazing grace. It’s a story that’s not finished yet.
Joel 3 is a prophecy about part of the story that hasn’t been finished yet. Think of it as future history. The persecution that tore the Jewish nation apart will one day draw that nation back together. This is one prophecy that’s already come to pass. In 1948, after the tragedy of the holocaust during World War II, Israel was reconstituted as a nation. Scripture predicted it. People fulfilled it. No other nation in history can claim such a thing as this.
But the prophecy of Joel isn’t finished yet. A day is coming when the whole world will rise against Israel. Envious of the backstage pass and looking for a scapegoat to blame for their punishment from God the people of the world will attack the Children of Israel.
God’s response? “Bring it.”
He will protect and provide for his people and frustrate the plans of the world. Ironically, God is even more clever. He will use the world’s thirst for vengeance and violence toward his people as the very tool to bring his justice upon them. This is the theme of Joel 3. The future history of Israel and the world.
As Believer in Jesus Christ you have received the ultimate backstage pass, not because of how good we are, but because God has chosen to adopt us into his family. God continues to write the divine story of his relentless affection for you and the world, every action, every reaction leading you and drawing history to it’s preconceived end. I don’t fully understand the beautiful dance of our will and God’s sovereignty, but I know this, somehow God allows us to make a choice and the outcome falls exactly as he planned. Like a master chess player thinking 10 moves ahead. It may be your move, but the game belongs to him.
I don’t know what you face. Today it may seem the whole world stands against you. Today you may feel like you enjoy the ultimate backstage pass. Either way, as a child of God you will experience his pardon and one day stand in the eternal Jerusalem Joel describes in chapter 3.
Thank you for writing the divine story of your relentless affection for me. Thank you for the epic size and scope of this story and that it’s not done yet. Thank you for adopting me into your family. When I face persecution give me the wisdom, endurance and strength to represent you well. As future history unfolds allow me the privilege of standing where you need me, serving how you want me to, and fulfilling that part of the story you have written for me.
I love you, in Jesus name –