The Valley of the Sharp Sickle


Read Joel 3:12-14 and Matthew 7:21-23

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:14)

Imagine suddenly seeing great multitudes of people. I don’t mean just a large crowd; I mean the kind of multitudes where there are more people than sand on the seashore, where it seems the crowd could swallow up the earth, produce more dust than the oxygen in the air, and whose noise like a murmur, a rush, and then a roar causes you to believe you will never hear anything else again. Suddenly, all the lights go out and

a typhoon of panic swoops over the multitude in a way you could never describe. The earth shakes in a way that removes the security of standing on solid ground. There is no decision left. The decision was the Lord’s… The sharp sickle is ready to repay every violation of the law God had set up to protect the innocent and the helpless.

Yet some of them will say, “Didn’t I donate to duffles with dignity? Didn’t I save that child by doing that surgery? What about all thethankless laundry work I did? Doesn’t that count for anything?” Then the Judge will say, “Let me be very clear to you: I never knew you. Away from me, you who slander your coworkers behind their back… You who updated the company numbers to take nearly all of that widow’s annual bonus for your account…. You who told your wife you had nothing to hide… You who screamed demeaning words at your kids when you couldn’t find the remote.”

When I take the time to ponder this eventual day, I think the proper posture is to shudder at the upcoming wrath of God even for the vilest men in all of history. I think of friends and family for whom I am not sure what the Lord will say to them. Finally, I breathe a deep, pensive sigh of relief as I consider the incomparable, gracious gift of Jesus to those who trust in His name and Psalm 32:1, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!”

DIG DEEPER:

  • How does the promise of God’s overwhelming justice make you feel about the injustice you observe in this life?
    In light of these 2 passages, what are some of the implications of having one’s sin covered?

written by Ryan Atwood


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