Read Joel 2:1-11
Loving, Yet Uncompromising, Preaching
While there is some debate concerning the time of Joel’s prophecy, there is strong evidence that points to the pre-exilic period. Assuming the early date of the ninth century BC is correct, then Joel’s prophecies are either quoted by or alluded to by Isaiah, Amos, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Obadiah, Ezekiel, and Malachi, and Joel is the first to write about “the day of the Lord” (Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11; 3:14).
One of the strongest lessons we can take from this short book is the importance of loving, yet uncompromising, preaching. “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land temple; for the day of the Lord is coming, for it is at hand: a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains” (Joel 2:1-2a).
There is not a faithful gospel preacher, nor a zealous Christian, who does not love to talk about God’s grace, mercy, and love. However, if one ignores the many warnings in the Scriptures, telling others only of God’s love for mankind is telling only half the story. “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God; on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Romans 11:22)
There are times we may be deceived into thinking that negative preaching is not necessary because we do not see or realize the consequences of sinful activity. Inspiration discusses such a situation: “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God” (Ecclesiastes 8:11-13).
Declare the love of the Lord! Proclaim praises for His grace and mercy! But do not neglect to warn those who rebel and disobey His commands. Do it in love, with a view toward saving the sinful through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:2-5).