The prophet Joel paints a vivid end-time description where the Lord is to sit in judgment in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14 says, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”
In Joshua 8, there is a similar gathering of the Israelites in the valley between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim for a ceremony where the people were to choose to pledge their loyalty to God. And He, in turn, pledges to cherish and bless them as His own, a nation in covenant with the one true God. However, if the people chose not to follow the Lord, there were curses.
Are you in a valley of decision? And what are the fruits or consequences of your decision’s choices?
In Deuteronomy 27, Moses spoke of how the children of Israel would soon enter the land given them by God. They would make offerings unto the Lord, rejoice, and “become the people of the Lord thy God.” During this ceremony in the valley, there would be a declaration of the blessings for obedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-14) and a declaration for the curses caused by disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). In Jewish tradition, these curses were called the tochacha or “reprimand.” The purpose of this was to serve as a wake-up call to prevent the people from falling into sin and apathy, a clear understanding of what would happen if they did not follow the precepts of the Lord.
Consider that these blessings and curses are a metaphor related to fruit, both spiritual and material. In the tochacha, when the people were disobedient, there would be no fruit, and many difficulties would come (material and spiritual). But when they were obedient, they were not only blessed with material fruit but spiritual joy.
These essentially are the natural consequences found in God’s law. Is this not so in our lives today? There are blessings when we follow the path of God’s law, and there are great difficulties when we do not. In reality, our decisions or choices are a natural determination of whether we experience blessings. In my opinion, this is the result of the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The blessings for obedience are, by God’s nature, both material and spiritual.
In John 15:1-4, Jesus metaphorically teaches that apart from Him, we can’t bear fruit, saying, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit… As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; neither can you, except you abide in me.”
He said in John 15:10-11, “If you keep my commands, you shall abide in my love—just as I have kept my Father’s commands and stay in his love. I have said this so that my joy may be in you, and your joy be complete.”
Blessings are the result of choosing to keep relationship with God, choosing to do right because it is right and pleasing to Him. This way, His will becomes our own. So much better than the alternative!
Are you in a valley of decision?
Posted in The Daily Jot