By: Lou Yeboah
Thus says the Lord God: ‘A disaster, a singular disaster; behold, it has come! An end has come, the end has come; it has dawned for you; behold, it has come! Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land; the time has come, a day of trouble is near, and not of rejoicing in the mountains. Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, and spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, and your abominations will be in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord who strikes” [Ezekiel 7:2–9].
Nevertheless, speaking of that woeful time of trouble, I will not make a complete end of you [Jeremiah 30:11]. I will not utterly destroy you, but I will punish you severely—to shake you to the root of your very being in order to wake you up. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days are shortened by Me, no flesh would be saved [alive]; but for the elect’s sake [for the sake of God’s repentant, obedient people] those days will be shortened.” [Matthew 24:21–22].
Listen, when Noah prophesied that a great destruction was coming, he was mocked by his generation. Throughout biblical history, watchmen walked the streets warning of coming judgments, prophesying to God’s people, but often the people shut their ears and gave themselves over to pleasures, to food and wine, to buying, selling and building. But, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts… to whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear?
Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it….But, I set a watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But you said, you will not hearken” [Jeremiah 6:9–10, 17; Jeremiah 7:27-28]. Therefore, I indeed will deal with you in anger. My eye will have no pity nor will I spare; and though you cry in My ears with a loud voice, yet I will not listen to you. [Ezekiel 8:18].
“Sound the trumpet in Jerusalem! Raise the alarm on my holy mountain! Let everyone tremble in fear because the day of the Lord is upon us. It is a day of darkness and gloom, a day of thick clouds and deep blackness. Suddenly, like dawn spreading across the mountains, a great and mighty army appears. Nothing like it has been seen before or will ever be seen again. Fire burns in front of them, and flames follow after them. Ahead of them the land lies as beautiful as the Garden of Eden. Behind them is nothing but desolation; not one thing escapes. They look like horses; they charge forward like warhorses. Look at them as they leap along the mountaintops. Listen to the noise they make — like the rumbling of chariots, like the roar of fire sweeping across a field of stubble, or like a mighty army moving into battle. Fear grips all the people; every face grows pale with terror. The attackers march like warriors and scale city walls like soldiers. Straight forward they march, never breaking rank. They never jostle each other; each moves in exactly the right position. They break through defenses without missing a step. They swarm over the city and run along its walls. They enter all the houses, climbing like thieves through the windows. The earth quakes as they advance, and the heavens tremble. The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord is at the head of the column. He leads them with a shout. This is his mighty army, and they follow his orders. The day of the Lord is an awesome, terrible thing. Who can possibly survive?” [Joel 2:1-11].
Yet even now, declares the Lord, “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?” [Joel 2:12-17].
I can almost hear the tears in Joel’s voice as he pleads… “Repent and return to God. Repent and plead for God’s mercy. Change the direction you are going. Stop walking away from God and start walking toward God. Turn to God with your whole heart. Change your mind, reconsider your actions, and orient yourself entirely toward God. For NOW is the accepted time, NOW is the day of salvation. [Isaiah 49:8; 2 Corinthians 6:2]. REPENT! REPENT! REPENT!