The book of Joel shows us the covenant faithfulness of the LORD. The
LORD came with His chastisements because of the sin of the people, but
also with His prophetic word. The prophet came even with an extra warning
that the great and terrible Day of the LORD will come to His people, the
day of judgment. The current afflictions are only the beginning! But at the
call to repent and turn to the LORD, the people repented, and the LORD
came with words full of blessing. In these words, He promises to drive out
the invading armies of the enemies (verses 19b,20) and to undo the
afflictions in nature (verses 19a,21-22). We heard how at the beginning of
that gracious and wonderful reversal stood rain (verse 23). Without rain no
blessing in nature. But the words “He hath given you the former rain
moderately” can also be translated as “He hath given you the teacher of
righteousness”. The people of Israel were expecting the Messiah according
to God’s own promises. Through the mouth of his servant Joel, the LORD
here promises Him again. The Messiah will come as the great King. He will
come with His teaching, His word. And He will bring with Him blessings
for a sinful, but repentant people.
This is how the Lord repays times of adversity, difficulties, and struggles. It
is a reward by grace. Not a reward by merit or work! This reward follows
solely from the work of Christ. That reward then extends to all who believe
in Him. What a miracle. "What joy my soul tastes!" Christ stands between
judgment and blessing. He bridges the gap between a holy God and a sinful
people. In Him is a blessing for all who convert to Him and believe. A
blessing that will flow out to the world around us. It is only grace.
Then there is a blessing for time. But especially for eternity. Then there is
abundance. In Christ, there is all that is needed for time and eternity.
The purpose of all that? Why does the Lord do this? That is stated in verse
27. Joel borrows this language from Ezekiel. “And ye shall know that I am
in the midst of Israel and that I am the LORD your God, and none else.” A
confession of faith. Twice Joel prophesies, “And my people will never be
ashamed”. God Himself will make sure of that. Despite our shortcomings
and failures, He acts with this sole purpose: His glory! Then even our
failures and sins testify to this, for God comes with Christ and in Him with
grace, abundant for the greatest of sinners.

Rev. J. Th. Pronk