Who Can Possibly Survive This?

John Koedyker

READ : Joel 2:1-11

The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it? (Joel 2:11 NIV)

Former Senate chaplain Lloyd Ogilvie, in commenting on the message of the prophet Joel, mentions a cartoon that once appeared in The New Yorker magazine. It depicted a beautiful cathedral with a cheering crowd of people streaming out of church carrying a clergyman on their shoulders, his robe flapping in the breeze. Two men were standing off to the side watching the proceedings. “What happened?” one asked. “Oh,” replied the other, “he just announced that sin doesn’t matter anymore.”

Certainly Joel was not carried about triumphantly through the streets of Jerusalem for the upbeat message he was preaching. Sin does matter. There will be consequences that we all will have to face someday. Judgment is coming. The Day of the Lord will not be like a stroll through the park. Joel describes it as “great and dreadful.” He ends with a disturbing question: “Who can endure it?”

We usually try to avoid talking about subjects like this. Yet the Bible speaks often of the wrath of God. Who can survive that? The answer is “No one – unless we have Jesus and are covered by his righteousness. As the apostle says, “The wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).


God be merciful to me, a sinner, for the sake of your dear Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.