"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision."
Lately God has been speaking to my heart of two types of fire that are necessary in my life. First, there is the fire of judgment that burns away all that God has rejected in order to make us more pure before Him. The second fire is one of revival or renewal that burns like the flame of a holy sacrifice to God. As the Holy Spirit settles on our lives we burn for the sake of God's kingdom and for His glory.
These thoughts have driven me to study the minor prophets toward the end of the Old Testament. The section of the minor prophets starts at Hosea and ends with Malachi. I must warn you if you decide to start studying this section of Scripture that it can be very dark and troublesome. For years I avoided it, because I didn't really understand all that was going on, and every time you turn around someone is being consumed with fire. God is judging the nations right and left, and you get the idea that no one can survive before a holy God. Then, one day a light went on in my heart. I think that is exactly the point of these minor prophets. Who are we as mere mortal men to stand before God in our unrighteousness and expect Him keep extending His mercy? He is a holy God, and His purity will not be compromised. This is exactly the message that the church of Jesus Christ needs in this day.
Recently, as I read in the book of Joel, I came across the above verse. God has before Him all of those who are standing in judgment. Notice that it says there are multitudes, multitudes awaiting the verdict. I imagine in my mind's eye a multitude of people standing before God as far as the eye can see. They are awaiting the verdict upon their lives. The Bible says that the Lord will judge the dead and the living. There are many there in that day that will know that their doom is certain. There will also be many that stand before God knowing that they have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. However, I believe that most of the world will stand at this moment in the hope and belief that their righteousness outweighs their sin. Many of these people will have a claim that they have been a good, fair, and honest person. Many will even be able to accurately testify that they attended church on a regular basis. In their minds they have convinced themselves that they are good enough, but they will be shocked by the final decision.
The church, like the nation of Israel, needs to repent of placing so many things before God that He almost gets lost in the shuffle of our works and ministry. We need to confess a pride that has caused us to justify ourselves by our own righteousness. We live in a world that will be desperately hopeless on this day of judgment, but we have all but isolated ourselves from them. Too much of today's church has holed themselves up in their church buildings and forgotten a needy world. Let's wake up and realize that there is a valley of decision that stands before all of us. What have we done with what God has given us, and will the things that we have produced be able to endure the fire of God's judgment?
May you be ready to face the Lord on that day!