Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Joe 3: 9-14
Pondering the Silence
Most of us in America, like other nations, have had plenty of time to ourselves lately . I wrote at the beginning of the pandemic that I saw this as a time for us to consider our lives, spend time with our families and to decide what is important. Later I began to ponder it all over again: What is this quietness that is sort of like a holy hush? I thought to myself it is like the quiet before the storm…an eerie quietness. My thoughts grew more poignant as the thought arose: It is like the valley of decision written in scripture, which caused me to pull out my bible and read the Old Testament passage displayed above.
The caption over the chapter reads: “The Lord Judges the Nations.” That caption kind of hits you in the face when you see it. It tells the story and conclusion all in those few words. The valley of decision is the time of God’s judgment, but didn’t we already know that? Everyone dealing with this pandemic should have known this is not a freak of nature…This is a God thing…ergo, extraordinary weather events are commonly called acts of God. Even though I had described this as a time to consider our ways, it really goes much, much deeper.
God Explains His Actions
In the Old Testament Book of Isaiah, God asks: “Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint (Isa 1:5).” The Isaiah passage also talks about God judging the rebellious and it shows His weariness in dealing with their recurring sin. In Matthew 16, Jesus berated the Sadducees and Pharisees (religious leaders) that they could predict the weather but could not predict the seasons. It is a sad discourse, worthy of our reading to understand how God feels about our sin. God taught the people early in Genesis and again as the nation of Israel how to respond to seasons where He would come to meet with them. As I continued to ponder the subject, I was led to review the book of Amos where the Lord met out a barrage of punishment for His people’s failure to repent.
Opportunities to Change
Recently I wrote about Saul of Tarsus from the New Testament and how he was such a terrible person as he hauled off Christians to prison. I felt justified in writing it because of the harm he brought to the Kingdom of God, but the Spirit of God was now leading me to think on how God still loved, redeemed and used him as a chosen apostle. That got me to thinking about the redemption of God for the worst of people. I began to think about a person who appeared to be the worst of persons, Donald Trump. Then I remembered that God had shown me (and I had also written about how God revealed) something of his nature and that I should pray for him instead. The people we think are the worst people are still souls that God love and want to redeem. I went on to ponder how God wants us to love our enemies as we love ourselves. That does not leave much room to condemn any man, which speaks of one’s destiny even though his actions may be judged. Regardless of how bad we think a person is, God is still the Creator of that soul and loves and finds value in His creation. His goal is always redemption and therefore we are told to pray for the person. In that same writing I also revealed how the Spirit of God was revealing my failure to show love for my enemies and a need to be retaught those principles; as it is now. Trials reveal our shortcomings.
As I meditated on loving enemies and was tossing these matters around in my mind as I lay upon my bed, all of a sudden the word reconciliation came to mind. God wants us to be reconciled with our enemies and help those who are lost. I realized suddenly, that was the reason for this valley of decision. The valley of decision is a holding place where God comes to contend with us. It is a place where one should consider their obedience to the love commandment. How easy it is to show affection for people like us and to admire good people, but God requires us to love our enemies, even those that despitefully use and abuse us.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Mat 5:44-45
Are we willing to reconcile with our enemies? We often rehearse the pain enemies have caused or the lost we have suffered; it is human to want retribution. We see the psalmist who nearly stumbled over the wellbeing of the wicked until he entered into the house of the Lord (Ps. 73) and saw their punishment in the end. Even the saints in heaven are asking, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth (Rev 6:10)?“ Vengeance belongs to the Lord, who will eventually settle all accounts. Yet, because Christ covered our sin, we are commanded to have mercy on others like He did on us. We extend mercy and love to our enemies like Jesus did for us in hope that they too will come to salvation. Jesus paid the penalty for every soul. It is not the will of God that “any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Pe 3:9).”
I remembered in the books of Amos and Isaiah, God ponders whether to make judgment worst because of the hardness of hearts toward repenting. Other things flooded my mind. Just last night I had read the story about George Washington’s encounter with an angel who foretold of America’s future with three great trials and its destiny. My mind raced to last night’s newscast about the raging fires in California and the several cities of Oregon that had burned down. The news report showed the U.S. map with 25 glowing fire indicators across the breath of the state of California. I thought about fires burning on one end of the map while floods and Hurricane Sally approached on the opposite end. I again considered George Washington’s vision warning America and wondered if Americans really understood what’s at stake? Surely all of these things did not flood my mind by chance. I surmised that the Holy Spirit was trying to get something through to me in my sluggish state. We all have decisions to make during this solemn time and we all need to consider what God is saying to us individually and collectively.
Of course, I have had plenty of time to reflect on my journey and the things the Lord has revealed about my life, various situations and the things revealed in scripture concerning these times. I am accustomed to pondering these matters and waiting on the Spirit’s leading but am now having deeper considerations about my path. God has partnered with His children in the affairs of the earth and expects us to carry out His will. We are birthed in the earth to have His heart and be His witnesses in the earth to reach the lost. Our hands reaching out are His Hands reaching out. When we approach our enemy to share with them God’s grace, it proves God’s love to them and it proves our love to God. God calls it reconciliation.
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 2Co 5:18-19
It is easy to say I forgive, but the Spirit searches the soul and trials come to prove us. During this time of trouble, God wants each of us to be reconciled to Him and to each other. That is the reason for the valley of decision! God is waiting on our decisions before He responds to those choices. This has been a teaching time for me that I thrashed out during this writing. I am very accustomed to having these meditations and wrestling with the Spirit in private but perhaps someone else can benefit from this session. We know how to do good but we wrestle anyway. There is a wrestling with obedience that occurs within our soul. Some have called it a dark night. The mind and will has to get on board with the Word of God. With that said, I want to share some things from the Spirit of God because I realize from my own struggles similar struggles this nation is experiencing. The Spirit of God has taught me the importance of timing. We cannot always disclose what we want when we want to because the enemy is always looking for an advantage and we never want to leave the vulnerable exposed. God is the ultimate defender and He is on the scene to protect the weak. I will seek God on how best to unveil this information at a later time.
In scripture, God has already revealed the destiny of nations and how He will settle all accounts but many people are unaware of their profile in scripture. In the last days, God has promised to open up the scriptures that Daniel was told to seal up until the last days. In these last days, God has opened many of these scriptures; and to some of us, they read as an open book while still veiled to others. It has taken time in the valley for us to realize how bad things are and what is at stake. It is commonly said that there are no atheists in the foxhole. Crises have a way of confronting us with our beliefs. People, who still question God’s power and whether or not He is real, are people who will need that personal one-on-one confrontation with God to find out He is no longer winking at man’s sin and is fed up with rebellion. God is willing to do serious battle with some in the valley of decision.
In Romans Chapter One, we are told that God has revealed Himself to every man so that there is no excuse for questioning whether or not He exists (Rom 1:19). Not every man knows Jesus though and it is the believer’s job to get that message out to the world (Mar 16:15). In serious times, it is time for people to get serious about God.
It is important for every man, woman and child to know that God is our Creator and as Father He loves us more than we love ourselves. He proved His love for us by sending His only begotten Son to the cross to save us. That’s love! God has prepared for those who accept Christ, blessings that outweigh anything we could desire. His gift to us is love. I recently wrote a booklet I entitled: “You Must Be Born Again.” It discusses for the sinner and the saint the process of being born again; and I share portions of my testimony in it . I hope both the believer and unbeliever will take the time to read this short book and consider their own experience with God. I have prepared a special copy which can be read here: https://truth-and-life-ministries.com/2020/10/10/you-must-be-born-again-with-personal-testimony/.
It may be worth noting that this writing was commenced on September 11, 2020, and is being concluded and posted on October 10, 2020, the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, celebration of a new beginning or the eighth day where if God is pleased, He joins in celebration with us.