When Joel spoke God's Word to Israel, the people had just experienced a disaster never seen before on the earth. In no way does Joel soften God’s judgment or try to make the people feel good about themselves. Instead, he calls them to mourn their sin and remember the judgment of God. God’s judgment seems harsh at the time and it is. His judgment, however, reminds us of two important realities: 1. The grace and mercy of God is even in His judgment. 2. Even God’s judgment is evidence of His pursuit for relationship with you. Conviction of sin is God showing His love for you.
Our response to conviction is important as well. Psalm 32:1 gives this encouragement: How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! (Psalm 32:1, HCSB). Two encouraging words here are forgiven and covered. Forgiven literally means to have our sin lifted off. Unless Christ forgives, the burden of our sin remains our own to bear. The burden cannot be lifted on our own but Jesus has lifted the burden of sin, Praise God! The second word is covered. On the Day of Atonement the priest took the blood of an animal into the Holy of Holies. He sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat which was placed over the Ark of the Covenant. The blood covered the broken law, shielding the sinner from God’s judgment.
The truth of Scripture tells us that God does judge and will judge. But the truth of Scripture also tells us that God has provided a way for forgiveness and covering. The way is Jesus. Are you covered by the blood of Jesus? He will lift the burden of your sin and cover you from God’s judgment.