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Eternity 71 - The Source of Salvation
(Joel 2:28-32) "And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.
These are the final verses of Joel chapter 2, which opens with a disastrous locust plague that is a type of the "day of the Lord" and leaves the land desolate behind them and famine in their wake. In the midst of this judgment and national crisis Joel goes on to a call for national and personal repentance and the honoring of God. "V.13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm." The people repent! So the prophet then moves to a series of wonderful promises including the well known "I will restore the years the locusts have eaten" and finally looks into the future - to Pentecost and beyond and to the return of the Lord and the final judgment. Thus this chapter is a panorama of God dealing with His people. In the midst of utter ruin and catastrophe there is hope for the saints!
The verse I want to focus on is the very last verse "For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance." Even in the final catastrophes of history as the moon turns to blood and the sun to sackcloth and the world is shaken by war and famines and plagues and natural disasters - even in the midst of utter ruin - God still delivers His holy ones. He does not deliver the kings and princes of this earth who, terrified of the wrath of the Lamb, ask the rocks to fall upon them and hide them. Neither does He deliver the compromised - those who sell out to Satan and take the mark of the Beast. These are cast into the lake of fire. But for the humble, holy saints, for the lambs to the slaughter, to the ordinary believers who continue to honor God - there will be salvation, honor, glory and deliverance. Some will be raptured, but many will be martyred. But their death becomes their glory and in it there will be no sting (1 Corinthians 15:55). For those that stay true to God, in the midst of a ruined world, there is salvation in abundance.
This principle also applies in the locust plagues of daily living - when years of our life seem to be wiped out by illness, divorce, emotional pain, unemployment or debt. When all seems ruined - it isn't. You still have your faith, and your God, and He can create a new and Spirit-filled future for you. It may not be a wealthy future but it can be a holy future, full of joy and love and Christian simplicity. It may not be a future full of glamor and high-living but it can be full of the Holy Spirit and meaning. You may not be famous but you can possess godly dignity, wisdom, grace and poise. You can prophesy, dream dreams, see visions, and be a person of the Spirit, calling things into being that are not. You may even feel that your ruin is so complete that "ministry is over", that you will never pastor a church again or lead a service or serve in any ministry position - and this may be so. But that does not stop you from knowing God's anointing, and being full of the Holy Spirit and ministering "outside the system" to those the Lord brings your way. Perhaps by building your own web page. God can reach into your ruined situation and minister grace - and while you have Jesus living in you and the Holy Spirit teaching you and God loving you, there is hope.
Restoration is often slow to start, it seems to take years, and then suddenly it is there, complete. The years the locusts have eaten have been made up, and the grass is green, life is abundant and the barren years are forgotten. But this wonderful restoration only comes to those who stick close to God in the midst of their ruin and who wait on Him. Some people try and make up for catastrophe in ways that only make things worse for them - by indulging the flesh, or chasing after get-rich-quick schemes, or having affairs, or foolishly trying to relive their youth in middle-age. Deliverance comes from God, not from desperate schemes. Salvation is in Zion alone, in repentance and holiness alone, and in the ministry of the Holy Spirit to your inner man, alone. God is the source of salvation. He alone has the wisdom and strength and commitment to you to restore your ruined situation. If you call on your own resources you will find them limited, if you call on other people, you will find them often uninterested in your plight, but if you call on the name of the Lord - you will be saved, for there is deliverance in Zion, for all who call upon Him.