9 ¶ Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up!
10 Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.”
11 Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones.
“Let the weak say, ‘”I am a mighty man.’” We are made weak for the purposes of God. The strength we have when we begin to serve God comes from the energies of our soul/flesh nature. Some may come full of zeal, hard charging fire pissers, ready to take the Kingdom. Some may come reluctantly, seemingly with no zeal at all. It makes no difference. All that we are in our soul/flesh nature must give way to His divine strength in us. This comes about through one dealing after another. Those who come with natural strength He tears down. Those who come fearful He builds up, but no one escapes the fire that produces the warriors of the Kingdom. Whether we come strong and zealous, or weak and timid, it’s the same flesh nature and God will have none of it. He will reproduce His own nature in us, and then we will be ready to walk as the Army of the Lord.
We must perceive that all the difficult circumstances of our lives are ordered to drive us deeper into Him. Jer. 12:5 says, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” In the day of battle to which we have come, only those who are strong in the Lord will stand. It’s that strength of spirit that comes from being forced into appropriating more of Him that will sustain us. Daniel 11:32 says its those who know their God that will be strong and do exploits. God is creating us to be fighters. His dealings make us understand that if we don’t lay hold of more of Him we will fall by the wayside. We are forced into fighting for our lives. But really, it’s fighting for His life in us. That life will surely come as we stand on His word and believe it with all our hearts. He is making us strong for Himself (Ps. 80).
Verse nine of our text from Joel says, “Prepare a war; rouse the mighty men! Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up!” The Hebrew word for come up is ‘alah. It means to arise or ascend. God first draws all His mighty men, His soldiers, up to Himself. There is an ascension in the realm of spirit to stand in His presence. This comes about through the dealings we have discussed. As we learn to stand on His word in the face of lying circumstances and the assault of the enemy, we are made strong and find ourselves ascending in Him. It’s in that realm of ascension that the weak say, “I am a mighty man.” Let’s read Heb. 11:32-34:
32 ¶ And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,
33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,
34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
All the great accomplishments of the men and women listed in Heb. 11 sprang from a faith created in them by God. From weakness they were made strong, they became mighty in war, and put foreign armies to flight. None of them started out strong. They were made strong by the dealings of God in their lives.
Now, let’s read again verse 11 in our text from Joel. “Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones.” The Hebrew word for bring down is nachath. It means to descend. In verse nine those who would be His mighty men are caught up. They ascend in God through the dealings He puts them through. As they are made strong in Him they descend back into the lower realms as His Mighty Ones. It’s through them that the purposes of God are accomplished in the earth. God’s mighty men will perpetually move up and down in the realm of spirit, ascending in God and then descending to speak His word in the earth. This is the fulfillment of John 1:51:
50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
51 And He *said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
The Greek word for angel is aggelos. It literally means messenger. It does not always refer to angels. It’s not angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man, but those whom He has made strong for Himself. They are constantly ministering His will in the earthen realm.
Let’s go back now to Joel 3:
12 Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations.
13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.
14 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 grow dark And the stars lose their brightness.
16 The LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.
17 Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, And strangers will pass through it no more.
18 ¶ And in that day The mountains will drip with sweet wine, And the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; And a spring will go out from the house of the LORD To water the valley of Shittim.
19 Egypt will become a waste, And Edom will become a desolate wilderness, Because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, In whose land they have shed innocent blood.
20 But Judah will be inhabited forever And Jerusalem for all generations.
21 And I will avenge their blood which I have not avenged, For the LORD dwells in Zion.
Verses 11-15 speak of the day of the Lord and judgment. This day of the Lord has it origins in the realm of spirit and only those functioning in the realm of spirit are going to know and understand the hour. Dan 12:10 says, “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.”
Verses 16-21 are a picture of the Lord functioning in His people. Zion, God’s holy mountain, is His people. Zion is a spiritual realm inhabited by those whom God has drawn near to Himself through His dealings. It’s those Mighty Ones who are made strong from weakness. Verse 16 says God roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem. This means God is speaking through a people. The rest of the verse says the Lord is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel. And then Joel nails it down in verse 17: “Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain.”
In verse 18 God says the mountains will drip with sweet wine and the hills will flow with milk and all the brooks of Judah will flow with water. This is a mystical picture of the body of Christ functioning in the realm of Zion. The sweet wine, the flowing milk and flowing water all speak to His word made fruitful in the earth. It then says a spring will go out from the house of the Lord to water the valley of Shittim. This corresponds with the great river of Ezk. 47 and Rev. 21. All the brooks of Judah are His people; tributaries of the one Great River of His word spoken in the earth.
The battles of the Great Day of the Lord are being fought now. We can’t look to the chaos in the earth and expect to understand what is going on. We must be as God’s Mighty Ones, made strong from weakness, ascending in Him to see the true picture.