March 08, 2010

The Day of the Lord

Joel 2:1-11

The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?
Joel 2:11


In September 2008, Hurricane Ike was gaining strength over the Gulf of Mexico and tracking straight for the coast of Texas. It had been more than a century since America’s deadliest hurricane hit Galveston back in 1900, killing more than 6,000 people, but stories of that terrible storm remained in the minds of the residents. Police issued an evacuation order, and more than a million people fled before Ike reached land.

Curiously, some stayed behind, even though officials warned that they faced “certain death.” A newspaper article from a day or so before Ike hit Texas reported that those who would not evacuate were told to write their names on their arms in black marker so that their bodies could be identified later. Why wouldn’t they leave?

Today’s Bible reading sounds a similar alarm. It warns people about a deadly, approaching storm that is called “the day of the Lord.” Only God’s grace can protect us from this storm, and that grace is freely offered by God in Jesus. On the cross, Jesus suffered all the punishment of God’s wrath against sin; he did that in our place so that we would not be destroyed. Without faith in Jesus, people will face certain death when the final “day of the Lord” comes (2 Peter 3:10-14).

Have you listened to the Bible’s warning and found refuge in Jesus?

Lord, your Word commands a response from all who hear it. Thank you for sending Jesus into the world to die in my place. Use me to lead someone to faith in him. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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