We heard the prophet Joel exclaim in verse 11b, “Thither cause thy mighty
ones to come down, O LORD.” The prophet heard God’s verdict and
understood that times of great darkness and distress are coming. He
therefore prays for help, “Send Your army of angels Lord!”
The LORD comes with His answer in verse 12, “Let the heathen be
wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to
judge all the heathen round about.” The LORD repeats His word spoken
earlier in verses 9 and 11a. God will indeed send His heavenly messengers,
but their first task is to awaken the Gentile nations and to cause them to
gather in the valley of Jehoshaphat. But while the Gentiles come with evil
plans in great enmity against God and His people, the LORD will be
waiting for them. They will meet Him in that valley as their judge. And He
will carry out His righteous judgment on them.
All things are reversed here. The worldly nations think that they are in
charge and in control of everything. But they are no more than instruments
in God’s hand. The LORD uses their own imaginations and evil plans to
judge them. The Sovereign One is not threatened at all. Neither should his
people be. The LORD directs all things in His providence. The locusts and
droughts are in His hands (Joel 1), also the enemies of God’s people are in
His hands.
Then the picture changes again. So many times, in this prophecy, the nature
of the language and the used images changed. In verse 13, the LORD is
portrayed for us as a farmer. A well-known picture for the Israelis. “Put ye
in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is
full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.” It is time for the
harvest in a spiritual sense; the measure of sin is full. The iniquity is
complete (Gen 15:16). The mighty warriors of the LORD will come down
to assist God, the Creator of heaven and earth, in the execution of His
righteous judgment. The grapes have been picked and gathered. They are
waiting in the press to be trampled. So many evil and stinking fruits, sins,
await God’s judgment. We read the same pictures in Revelation 14:14-20.
Oh, that we, before this time comes, may know Him of whom we read, “I
have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with
Me.” (Isaiah 63:3) Whoever believes in Him await blessings instead of
judgment (Joel 3:18). He vicariously bore the sin of the world and took
away the sin of His people. In Him is righteousness. He the judgment, we
the blessing. Amazement fills our hearts. Rev. J. Th. Pronk