Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3:14)
The Valley Of Decision
Joel is the prophet of decision. Using a catastrophic locust plague as a backdrop, the prophet of God unleashes a barrage of appeals to Israel to repent or face the wrath of God. The day of the Lord was coming, and severe destruction would come if the people did not repent. Repentance is the message of the book. The totality of God’s destruction would be thorough, complete, and exhaustive. There would be no mercy to an unrepentant nation. God’s wrath would burn hot on the people if they did not heed the day of the Lord. Joel told the people the judgment of God was at hand, it was coming, and it would be great and very terrible. A day would come that would be coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. Joel’s conclusion is the appeal for the people to make a decision. He tells them the day of the Lord is at hand, and they are standing in the valley of decision.
The metaphorical language of Joel is very strong. There is no doubt the judgment of God was coming. History is replete with how God does not lie, and when He promises judgment, it comes. Israel had turned away from the Lord to serve idols. Moses had written in the law when Israel turned away from God to serve idols; judgment would come. The Lord had sent prophets into the land to turn the hearts of the people back. They rejected the messengers of God. Israel experienced a time of prosperity, but this came from becoming like the nations around them. God had not blessed them, and they forgot God. Now the Lord demands the trumpet be blown in Zion and an alarm sounded in His holy mountain. The people should tremble at the day of the Lord when they see the dust of the consuming armies coming to destroy them.
God pleads with the people to turn to Him with all their hearts, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. If they would rend their hearts, a merciful God would save them. He demands they blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, and call a sacred assembly. When the people show works of repentance, God will relent from His fury. The day has come for a decision. Joel calls it the valley of decision. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Those who refuse will be destroyed.
The figure of the valley of decision is how God displays His mercy for all humanity. When men refuse to follow the will of the Lord, the wrath of God comes with a furious swarm like a destructive army of locusts. The crawling, consuming, and chewing creature leaves nothing in its path, and so will the Lord bring swift and utter destruction. Jesus pleaded with the people to repent or perish. They killed the Prince of Life. God has revealed His word to all the world through the Bible, and men reject His message. There is coming a day when all men will stand before the judgment bar of God. When that time comes, there will be no hope. The time for a decision is now. Salvation must come today. There can be no waiting or indecisiveness. We all stand in the valley of decision and must decide whom we will obey. Like Joshua declared so long ago, a day must come when a decision is made. Elijah implored the people to make up their minds about whom they would obey. The Lord has done all He can do and all He will do. Every man stands in the valley of decision. What is your decision? You will decide.