“What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will return your payment on your own head swiftly and speedily.  For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples.  You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their own border.  Behold, I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will return your payment on your own head.  I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away, for the LORD has spoken.”
 Proclaim this among the nations:
Consecrate for war;
stir up the mighty men.
Let all the men of war draw near;
let them come up.
 Beat your plowshares into swords,
and your pruning hooks into spears;
let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”
 Hasten and come,
all you surrounding nations,
and gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O LORD.
 Let the nations stir themselves up
and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge
all the surrounding nations.
 Put in the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
for the winepress is full.
The vats overflow,
for their evil is great.
 Multitudes, multitudes,
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the LORD is near
in the valley of decision.
 The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
 The LORD roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth quake.
But the LORD is a refuge to his people,
a stronghold to the people of Israel.
(Joel 3:1-16 ESV)
A STRONGHOLD to the people of Israel.
God judges his people using other nations.
But then he punishes those nations for punishing his people.
Seems like a dichotomy eh? To say that "I will use you" to punish my people, and then to say "how dare you do this?" on the other.
The Lord holds his people close to him and yet he has the need to punish them when they stray from the path he lays for them. So is his love for us.
He will not let his people be treated shamefully without reacting to it.
Sold into slavery? Used as a prostitute? Stripped bare and poor? God won't have this happen without reacting to it.
This should be comfort to us you know.
To know that even if he punishes us, he still holds us close.
He will use what he must to get our attention, and loves us through that punishment.
What do you think?