In November 2016, over 37, 000 acres of beautiful trees in the National Forests Mountains of northern Georgia, North Carolina and southern Tennessee were destroyed by wild fires. The fires raged into December and are only now being contained thanks to hundreds of fire fighters from all over the United States and a much needed rain from God! The forest fires took on a new dimension, when a popular tourist attraction in the Smokey Mountains of Southern Tennessee was attacked by the fires and destroyed homes, completely destroyed some favorite attractions and claimed 13 lives, so far! It has been heart breaking as we watched the news updates from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!
Like so many others, I was captivated by a special article that traveled around the internet at that time! The famous Dollywood Attraction in Sevierville, Tennessee was threatened by the fires; but survived with only damage from heavy winds. It was reported that a man cleaning up after the storm, found a partially burned Bible that revealed the book of Joel from the Old Testament. I wish I could attach a picture of that Bible so you could see that although it had been burned around the edges; you could quit easily read Joel 1: 15-19!
“Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand;
It shall come as destruction from the Almighty. Is not the food cut off before our eyes,
Joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed shrivels under the clods,
Storehouses are in shambles; Barns are broken down, For the grain has withered.
How the animals groan! The herds of cattle are restless, Because they have no pasture;
Even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment. O Lord, to You I cry out; For fire has devoured the open pastures,
And a flame has burned all the trees of the field.”
I was fascinated! I had to learn more! I always hate to admit to you, that I can’t remember something in the Bible that I should be able to recall! But, that’s the way it is! I didn’t remember Joel until I took the time to investigate it! I read the entire book which is only three chapters. I read more in some commentaries.
But, when I listened to Chuck Smith’s comments from 1978-1980, I found a new understanding; and possibly the reason God may have arranged for this Old Testament Prophet to speak to us in 2016! Joel was writing about a desolation that would be coming in the last day, when armies would be coming to destroy Israel. Because Joel couldn’t have imagined what type of military equipment would be used today; he did know about locusts and used that knowledge to warn what God had shown him.
The destruction coming is described as “day of the LORD”. Chuck Smith described at least three different examples of “day of the LORD” found in God’s Word: the great judgment on the earth; gathering the nations for judgment and establishing the new reign of Jesus Christ as King. No matter what opinion we may have regarding what the Bible describes as “the day of the LORD”; we must live our lives as if that “day” may be any moment! Even more important: that we make sure everyone around us is also very much aware of the coming of “the day of the LORD”! Have you told someone lately just what the LORD has done in your life? Have you asked if they know Jesus as their Savior? I am going to make sure that I ask someone today; for the flames have burned “all the trees of the field. The day of the LORD is at hand!!!!