#DailyDevotion God reveals his name to us in Jesus.
Read Joel 2:1–17
Joe 2:11-14 The LORD utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it? (12) “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; (13) and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (14) Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?
It was a terrifying experience for the Israelites when the Lord fulfilled this prophecy. The Assyrians, God’s army, were the original blitzkriegers. The sheer numbers of soldiers and their horses and the like made the earth tremble and the dust kicked up by their march darkened the skies. Eventually they would decimate Israel and carry them off into exile.
But it didn’t have to be that way. They had the great “Yet even now.” It is the Lord’s desire that all people everywhere be repentant. What is needed is a change in heart. That, in and of itself, is impossible for us by our own power and strength. Yet the Lord gives us the threats and warnings of the Law to break our hearts of stone and causes us to bow down before our Maker in fear of Judgment. But even more, he gives us that word of promise which is his name, “he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” It is the name he revealed to the Israelites in the wilderness: Exo 34:6… “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” His name reveals his will towards his people and to all mankind.
Now in these latter days, the Lord has revealed to us a new name, Jesus. It is written he is called that Mat 1:21 “for he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus is from Joshua which means “the Lord saves.” Jesus is the Lord. He is the Lord who spoke by the prophets to his people Israel. He is the Lord who delivered them from the Egyptians. He is the Lord who spoke and visited Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has become man not only to save the Israelites but to be that promised blessed seed for the nations. In Jesus he shows us, as he suffers and dies on the cross to take away the sin of the world, that he is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Gracious and merciful in that he gives himself freely and merciful that he does what is necessary to win us from sin, death and the devil. Slow to anger in that he gives millenniums to spread the good news of salvation to the inhabitants of the earth. He abounds in steadfast love in that he has kept his promise of salvation. This good news grants us the gift of repentance that we may hate our sins and trust in Jesus our savior.
Lord Jesus Christ, may your law break our hearts of stone and may the good news of salvation procured by you give us hearts of flesh that fear, love and trust in you above all things. Amen.