Practical Proverbial, from Joel, 17 November 2022. Today’s topic: Assemble!

Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war!  Rouse the warriors!  Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.  Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears.  Let the weakling say, “I am strong!”  Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there.  Bring down your warriors, Lord!  Joel 3:9-11

Once again, Joel reminds us that the end of times will be a time of war.   From ancient times, God’s call to us is, “Avengers:   assemble!”  In these verses, the prophet is talking about the battle to come at the end of the age.  Yet, this section (that takes up much of the rest of the chapter) is actually a challenge to God’s enemies to prepare for battle against Him.   It also serves as a reminder that we believers are in battle now in this life.

Several verses jump out.   “Plowshares into swords:” you’ve heard of that before.   Here, Joel is telling people to take up every weapon, to make everything usable into a weapon.  Plowshares are for peaceful, agricultural use, yet the prophet tells people to break them apart (and symbolically break the peace), melt them down, and forge them into swords (to take into battle, presumably against God).  Yet, contrast this with verses in Isaiah 2 and Micah 4, where God reveals that, when the battle is done, man’s truest call is to change swords into plowshares, to return to his original task of giving God glory by tending His garden.   In this time, after evil is defeated, God will walk with us again, helping us there in the world and sharing His peace universally again.

Weak becoming strong.   When I read verse 10, I kept thinking of an old hymn that my kids learned in parochial school: “And now, let the weak say “I am strong.”  Let the poor say I am rich.”  In Joel, God is telling arrogant people to convince themselves they are strong enough to take on the Almighty.   It’s a laughable proposition, but it’s also a teachable moment (and aren’t they all).  In reality, we ARE weak and we ARE made strong, but only through God, who is the only true source of strength.   All other supposed strength is posing, pretending, fooling ourselves.

Finally, “assemble there,” and we’re back to that scene in “Avengers: Endgame,” when Captain America (an image of Christ, if you think about it), beckons the beaten and wounded heroes to assemble for battle.  God, through Joel, is telling his opponents to make ready, to gather against Him, which they will at the last time.   Yet He’s also telling us to prepare for battle today, to resist temptation and sin by relying fully, only on Him now.   You heard the man.   Assemble!

For more reading:  Joshua 1:6, Isaiah 2:4, Isaiah 8:9, Jeremiah 46:4, Ezekiel 38:15-16, Micah 4:3, Zephaniah 3:8, Zechariah 12:8, Revelation 12:12-16, Joel 3:12

Lord, You give us Your word to teach us.  Make us ready through it for spiritual, and physical, war.

Published by aspiringwriterdt

It's about's about the life He gives's about going day by's about you. It's not about me.

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