“The Lord roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth tremble. But the Lord is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, and strangers will pass through it no more.”
The last chapter of Joel prophecies a sharp contrast of the judgment a world without the Father’s favor receives, against the incredible blessing His people find under His covering.
His Providence, I want to draw your attention today to these 16th and 17th verses because I believe the Lord wants to remind us that while His voice and anger are only raised against a world that rejects the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus, His Church is exposed to this chastisement for a great purpose. We aren’t the recipients of the mighty rebuke, but we are most certainly meant to be 3rd party witnesses to it—
“Then we will know that He is the Lord our God”
Most of us have had conversations with folks who can’t wrap their minds around all the terrible things that are happening in the world today...and some of you struggle with this yourselves. And yeah, its difficult for our earthly logic to reconcile His grace and love with everything we see in the world around us; but reading here, we find that watching the fallout and aftermath of sin is meant to draw us closer to the Shelter we have from those things.
But it’s this last line that I think is so cool:
“...Strangers will pass through it no more.”
Why? Not because all the ‘strangers’ have been blotted off the face of the earth... but rather because the indwelling of the Lord among all those who desire to know Him, has, in and of itself, removed the ‘stranger-ness’ from the land of the living.
Great, so Zac, what does this mean for me?
Well it means that the parts of our lives that feel “strange,” or far from our relationship with God, aren’t really “strange to Him. You see, His desire to dwell among us is based on the blood-covering of Jesus Christ, but it is most definitely not in ignorance to our proneness to wander or in denial of the “less-than-sanctified” pieces of our lives.
Let this be an encouragement that the Lord is working in the far-off prodigal parts of your heart, mind, and soul. Because no matter how far you’ve wandered, or what you’ve done in that place, you’re never far from the Father’s heart, and you certainly aren’t strange to your Creator.
I love you guys, and I can’t wait to see you Sunday!