The Dawn Chorus

Opening Prayer

God, help me to add my voice to the dawn chorus of Your new day.

Read Joel 3:1–21

“In those days and at that time,
when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 I will gather all nations
and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I will put them on trial
for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel,
because they scattered my people among the nations
and divided up my land.
3 They cast lots for my people
and traded boys for prostitutes;
they sold girls for wine to drink.

4 “Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done. 5 For you took my silver and my gold and carried off my finest treasures to your temples. 6 You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, that you might send them far from their homeland.

7 “See, I am going to rouse them out of the places to which you sold them, and I will return on your own heads what you have done. 8 I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away.” The Lord has spoken.

9 Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare for war!
Rouse the warriors!
Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
and your pruning hooks into spears.
Let the weakling say,
“I am strong!”
11 Come quickly, all you nations from every side,
and assemble there.

Bring down your warriors, Lord!

12 “Let the nations be roused;
let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
for there I will sit
to judge all the nations on every side.
13 Swing the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Come, trample the grapes,
for the winepress is full
and the vats overflow—
so great is their wickedness!”

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 will be darkened,
and the stars no longer shine.
16 The Lord will roar from Zion
and thunder from Jerusalem;
the earth and the heavens will tremble.
But the Lord will be a refuge for his people,
a stronghold for the people of Israel.

Blessings for God’s People
17 “Then you will know that I, the Lord your God,
dwell in Zion, my holy hill.
Jerusalem will be holy;
never again will foreigners invade her.

18 “In that day the mountains will drip new wine,
and the hills will flow with milk;
all the ravines of Judah will run with water.
A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house
and will water the valley of acacias.
19 But Egypt will be desolate,
Edom a desert waste,
because of violence done to the people of Judah,
in whose land they shed innocent blood.
20 Judah will be inhabited forever
and Jerusalem through all generations.
21 Shall I leave their innocent blood unavenged?
No, I will not.”

The Lord dwells in Zion!


“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psa. 30:5b).

Finally in Joel, we encounter a picture of light that breaks into the darkness, a picture of restoration and hope. It is a genuine hope for God’s real future.

To get there, all must pass through the way of God’s judgment, and this too is darkness for many. The idea of God’s justice can be frightening. Nothing is beyond his grasp or outside of his view. We read in Joel that God knows how his land has been divided, and that boys and girls are traded for prostitutes and wine.

Abuse of people, and exploitation of the planet, are all seen by God. He sees and knows. He gathers our tears of lament, and he hears our cries for justice. In his perfect and gracious judgment, he will bring in the end of the Day of the Lord. As evening gives way to morning, God’s people will be vindicated and blessed. The earth, and our own hearts, will be watered and will overflow with the fruitfulness he intends in the dawn of a new day.


Take a moment to praise the Lord for bringing you out of darkness and into his light.

Closing prayer

Lord, stir in me a song of Your Spirit that will rise in worship. Help me testify to Your unfailing goodness and everlasting mercy.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider