Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord, your God, and cry out to the Lord.

Joel 1: 14

 

The prophet Joel was speaking about a time when the news was bad, and it showed all of the signs of doing nothing but getting worse. The crops were failing, the air and the water were being polluted, and the political processes, regardless of your personal views or persuasions, were undependable and in total disarray. The pressures and the challenges of life were causing people to have grave doubts about the future, and those concerns were causing people to become isolated, separated, and defensive. Those were tough times, and God gave Joel some very special wisdom regarding the best way to respond to them.

 

The Lord wants His people to focus our attention on Him alone. He wants us to set aside time and energy so that we can concentrate solely on seeking His will. God knows that we need to make this the primary activity of our days; thus, He tells us to stop doing even the most basic of ordinary daily functions in order to give our total attention to Him. However, the Lord wants much more from us, for He also knows that people tend to become isolated and to work independently when we are placed in stressful situations; thus, God wants us to purposefully come together with others during this process of seeking out His will. I believe that He is also telling us to make these gatherings as inclusive as we possibly can; then, the true Body of Christ is gathered with all of its gifts in order to stand strong in the face of the intense opposition that we face continually.

 

Finally, the Lord wants us to speak out with the passions of our hearts and the pain that is in our souls. As we gather together we can let our words pour out in the intensity of our concern, pain, loss, and suffering. God wants to hear the deepest fears and the greatest longings of our hearts, and He wants us to share them with each other in the process of speaking them to Him. When we gather together as the Body of Christ and cry out from our hearts as we seek the Lord’s direction and will, God will respond. He grants to us the wisdom of the ages that has guided people from the beginning of time and that is still the only truth that exists in our world. As we listen to the voice of the Lord, He will send us into the world with His plan for delivering the Lord’s blessing to the hurt, the oppressed, and the lost.

 

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