D-Day: Destruction or Deliverance? - 6/10/18

D-DAY; … DISTRUCTION OR DELIVERANCE 06-10-2018

Joel 3: 9-16

The operation was the largest single-day military invasion in all of history.
Just under 200,000 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel delivered over
130,000 troops along a stretch of the Normandy coast in France.
They were supported by 12,000 aircraft flying 14,000 sorties. … The Allied
invaders’ goal was to get past the well-entrenched German army that was 250,000-
troop strong.
June 6th, 1944, … 74 years ago, this last Wednesday, … “D-Day” as we now refer
to it, … was a pivotal day in the Second World War. … It opened the way for the
destruction of the Nazis …
and the deliverance of Europe.
As many bombs fell and bullets that were dropped and fired on the D-Day of 1944,
… that day will pale in comparison to the Divine D-Day that is coming.
This D-Day will not just lead to … but be a day of destruction for unbelievers …
and a day of deliverance … for believers.
Divine D-Day is just another name that I am attaching to Judgment Day.
In our scripture this morning, … the prophet Joel, … who lived about 830 B.C., …
gives us three word pictures of Judgment Day.
In the first picture, … God summons the peoples of this world to do battle with
Him.
Vs. 9-10: … Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for holy war; rouse the
warriors; let all the men of war advance and attack! 10 Beat your plows into swords
and your pruning knives into spears
Vs. 12: … Let the nations be roused and come to the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
for there I will sit down to judge all the surrounding nations
What might strike us about this section of Scripture … is how confident God is!
Our Lord sounds like an action figure, provoking His enemy to come and put on
the gloves!
God is so confident of victory, … that He doesn’t even allow for a defensive
position in preparation for this battle. … He doesn’t even stand up to meet the
invading army. … He just coolly sits on His throne of judgment!
Is God overconfident?; … Not at all.
He’s whopped these kinds of armies before. … By calling His enemies to the
Valley of Jehoshaphat, … God seems to be making reference to a battle He fought
during the reign of King Jehoshaphat, … the fourth king of Judah.

One day, … word reached King Jehoshaphat that the Moabites, … Ammonites, …
and Edomites … were coming to attack with what was described as … “A vast”
army (2 Chronicles 20:2). … Although Jehoshaphat had a capable army at his
disposal, … he first ordered his people to fast and then he prayed for the Lord’s
help.
God answered Jehoshaphat’s prayer by giving a Levite this message: …
“Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King
Jehoshaphat. This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged
because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles
20:15).
Since this battle was the Lord’s, … King Jehoshaphat and his army marched to the
battle site simply to observe what God would do. … As they marched they sang
words familiar to us: “Give thanks to the Lord, for His faithful love endures
forever” (2 Chronicles 20:21).
That doesn’t sound like a proper battle cry … but it was … and is!
Jehoshaphat and his men were already giving thanks for the victory they knew God
would grant. …
When they arrived at the battleground, … they saw the dead bodies of the enemy
… all around them. … Not one soldier from the invading army was left alive …
and Jehoshaphat’s men hadn’t fired a single arrow!
God had caused the enemy to fight one another in mass confusion and hysteria!
This just goes-to-show … how God allows testing into the lives of believers …
so that they get to see His grace and power at work.
The result; … we are stirred to praise God all-the-more!
So give thanks to the Lord, … no matter what you’re battling, … for the fight
really belongs to the Lord … and His merciful love for you … endures forever!
Just as God single-handedly dispatched the vast army of the Moabites, Ammonites,
and Edomites, … He will, … one day, … forever, … dispatch all those who dare
fight against Him.
Could that be us? … How can it? … We’ve never taken up arms against the Lord;
… have we?
We may never outwardly curse God and seek to destroy His Church …
but Divine D-Day may end up being a day of destruction for us … if we’re not
careful.
To explain, … let’s take a look at Joel’s second picture for Judgment Day.
Joel writes: “Swing the sickle, because the harvest is ripe” (Joel 3:13a).
Comparing Judgment Day to harvest day … is an illustration that Jesus also used.
It’s so familiar that we may fail to see ourselves in the picture.

Visualize this: … A farmer noticed that every autumn a tragedy played out in his
cornfields. … All summer long families of field mice had made their homes among
the growing plants. … They ate and slept, … they worked and played and raised
their families. … The mice imagined that those green fields belonged to them.
But then one day, at the end of the summer, … the mouse community got an awful
shock. … The farmer entered the fields with his harvesting machinery and all of a
sudden those comfortable summer homes and food pantries that the mice had
enjoyed … came crashing down on their heads!
Can you see any similarity here between field mice and people?
Do we look upon this world as our home … and so day after day go off to work, …
earn money, … play, … fall in love, … get married and have children, …
imagining that this world is our home … and will always be our home?
Thinking of the mice, … we might want to ask our self: … “Am I forgetting that
this world is not mine … that it’s just a temporary place to stay … that harvest day
is nearly upon us?” (John Jeske “Connecting Sinai to Calvary” p. 179)
Knowing that a day of judgment is coming, … is not the same as being ready for it.
German intelligence knew that the Allies were going to invade on June 6th, 1944.
How is it explained, then, … that many German officers, … including the
commanding general, … went on leave the weekend of the attack?
It’s because they underestimated the strength and the resolve of the Allies … plus
being duped into believing the main invasion would be elsewhere.
They figured that even if the Allies did attack, … they would have time to get back
to the front line to sort things out.
It was a fatal underestimation.
Are we making the same fatal underestimation … in regard to Judgment Day?
Do we treat our faith like a weekend hobby, … leaving it on the shelf, … Monday
through Saturday, … thinking that if Judgment Day happened on one of those
days, … we’ll still be able to talk our way into Heaven?
If so, … Joel has news for us.
Listen to his third description of Judgment Day: … Multitudes, multitudes
in the valley of decision! For the Day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will cease their shining.
16 The LORD will roar from Zion and raise His voice from Jerusalem; heaven and
earth will shake. (Joel 3:14-16a).
The Valley of Decision is another name for the Valley of Jehoshaphat that Joel
described earlier.
This valley is not so much a place, … as an event: … The Divine D-Day.

It’s described as the Valley of Decision because that is what’s going to happen on
Judgment Day: … God, … not man, … will make a decision.
This decision will be clear cut. … In fact, … the Hebrew word “to judge” comes
from a word that means “to cut.”
On Judgment Day, … God will cut … or divide human kind into two groups for
eternity. … Those who have put their faith in His Son for forgiveness … and
endured to the end, … will be saved.
Those who rejected Jesus … or even made their personal life … more important
than their life of faith, … will be expelled from God’s loving presence … forever.
There will be no pleading or bargaining with God on this day. …
Who would even dare to speak … when Joel describes God as roaring so that earth
and Heaven shake?!
Even the sun, moon, and stars won’t dare show their face on this day.
It will be a day of darkness; … same as when Jesus was crucified.
What do you say to that; … “golly-gee”, … “oh-my-gosh!”
Sounds quite scary, … doesn’t it?
It will be a frightening day for those who have rejected Jesus … but for those
whom the Holy Spirit has kept in the faith, … D-Day … will be a day of …
deliverance.
We can be certain of this because Joel describes it this way; … “the LORD will be a
refuge for His people, a stronghold for the Israelites” (Joel 3:16b).
The pillboxes the Germans had constructed on the Normandy coast were a refuge
for the German soldiers. … In spite of the all the shelling (The Battle Ship Texas
amongst it), … these structures continued to stand and protect the soldiers.
The only reason the pillboxes were captured is because the soldiers inside
eventually ran out of ammunition.
God, of course, … is an even better refuge than German-built pillboxes.
They were stationary structures on the Normandy coast; … God is with us
everywhere. … That’s why King David referred to God this way; … “who is
always found in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
So with God as our refuge, … the darkness of the Divine D-Day … will not be
frightening or scary for believers; … conversely, … neither will the dark days of
this life; … the loneliness, … the guilt of our sin, … that pending blood test or
biopsy, … the frustration over lack of adequate housing; … these are nothing …
for the believer … because: … “The LORD is good, a stronghold in a day of
distress; He cares for those who take refuge in Him” (Nahum 1:7)

He surrounds us with His love and protection. … He envelops us with the
cleansing blood of His Son.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like on that D-Day of 1944.
I’ve seen all the John Wayne, Gregory Peck and Audie Murphy movies and I’m
sure they don’t even come close to the drama …
but a D-Day even more dramatic and awesome than the one of 1944 is coming!
Are you ready for it?
If not, … it will result in: … “the outer darkness. In that place there will be
weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30). … For those that preach Jesus
was only about happiness and love, … those are His words!; … cut off from God’s
love … but not from His hatred for our sins.
That doesn’t have to be what Divine D-Day is like for you and me, … for this day
will also be a day of deliverance … for all who continue to trust in Jesus as their
Savior.
May that describe each of us … as we march towards the Valley of Jehoshaphat
(Judgment Day) singing: … “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful
love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16: 34)
AMEN.