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Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand— 2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountain, a large and mighty army comes, such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come.
3 Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste— nothing escapes them. 4 They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. 5 With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle.
6 At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale. 7 They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course. 8 They do not jostle each other; each marches straight ahead. They plunge through defense without breaking ranks. 9 They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows.
10 Before them the earth shakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. 11 The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command. The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?
12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. 16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. 17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, "Where is their God?’”
18 Then the Lord was jealous for his land and took pity on his people. 19 The Lord replied to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations. 20 “I will drive the northern horde far from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land; its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea. And its stench will go up; its smell will rise.” Surely he has done great things! 21 Do not be afraid, land of Judah; be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things!
22 Do not be afraid, you wild animals, for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches. 23 Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. 24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. 25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust the other locusts and the locust swarm— my great army that I sent among you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. 27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.
28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.
Let’s face it—2020 was a hard year. As much as we wish the challenges of last year didn't follow us into 2021, we’re all still dealing with our own challenges and wondering how we’re going to face the days and months ahead. In many ways, our world and our life can feel hopeless right now—like the odds are stacked against us...
There’s no better place to turn to as we begin 2021 than the scriptures. In this series, we will discover the importance and power of the Bible. It’s more than just a book—it’s one overarching story with the credibility and practical application that reveals and points to Jesus Christ. One Story, One Scripture, One Savior.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. – Romans 15:4 NIV
Often times when we face challenges in our lives, we withdraw from scripture and from God, yet that’s when we need Him most. What we tend to forget is that the Bible is more than just an instruction manual filled with information, it’s filled with stories of people who have had to deal with situations just like what we are going through—political tension, civil unrest, economic hardships, racism, plagues, and oppression.
The Bible was written for our strength and endurance, not just our knowledge. And if we look close enough, we’ll see ourselves in their shoes living out similar stories. One of the ways we follow Jesus together is by learning from the people He’s put in His story.
In the Old Testament, we see some of the greatest examples of obedience against all odds. Through these stories, we see the faithfulness and blessing from God over and over again. He is the Author and Perfector of our faith.