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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Consecrate a fast; call 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

 

Here is a sample of the instruction that this ancient voice of God’s will had for the people of the nation of Judah. There was a good deal more of the same, but these words do express plenty of what God had in mind. This was a time when God’s people had headed off on their own path. They were living out their personal visions for what was right and how justice should be served. There wasn’t much in any of this that could be traced back to God’s law or to His time-proven truths. Now there was truly the Devil to pay. The Lord had removed His protective hand from Judah, and locust have consumed their fields, war has bled their nations youth dry, and now drought is withering away what is left. These are hard times for everyone; so, God sends Joel to cry out to the people to return to their one and only true first love.

 

There is no question that something needs to be done. Navigating those difficult times clearly required strong leadership, and the people who are stepping forward were not taking the nation in a righteous direction. They probably had plans for insect control. There were big ideas about where to go to seek water and grand schemes for raising the funds that these ideas required. They certainly shouted out the need for a larger army with better weapons. There would have been chest thumping and negative comments about the other people who were attempting to gain power and control. In Joel’s days the clothing was different and the means of spreading the word was slower and more face-to-face, but the national atmosphere was not all that different than the ones that we encounter in our world today.

 

It seems that God is telling us to approach our challenges from a different perspective. He wants us to place our trust in the same solutions that were provided for the people of Judah. If they had been paying attention they would have realized that they had never successfully driven off a plague of locust, defended their borders from their strong enemies, or summoned the rain. These were things that God had always done for them. From the beginning of time God has gifted humanity with a national identity, a place to dwell and to plant roots, and the provision of the things that we need to grow and to thrive. God blesses people in these ways as we trust in Him, seek out His will, and choose to live in a just and righteous manner. Joel’s voice seems to cry out across the ages to our times, and he is saying that God is not pleased with our wanton and sinful approach to life. The Lord, God Almighty, is calling to each of us and to our nations with a voice of warning and a promise of salvation. The choice is yours and it is mine. Will we repent and return to the Lord, our rock and our defender?

Consecrate a fast; call 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

 

Here is a sample of the instruction that this ancient voice of God’s will had for the people of the nation of Judah. There was a good deal more of the same, but these words do express plenty of what God had in mind. This was a time when God’s own people had headed off on their own path. They were living out their personal visions for what was right and how justice should be served. There wasn’t much in any of this that could be traced back to God’s law or to His time-proven truths. Now there was truly the Devil to pay. The Lord had removed His protective hand from Judah, and locust have consumed their fields, war has bled their nations youth dry, and now drought is withering away what is left. These are hard times for everyone; so, God sends Joel to cry out to the people to return to their one and only true first love.

 

There is no question that something needs to be done. These times clearly call for a need for leadership, and the people who are stepping forward are not taking the nation in the direction that it needs to go. They probably had plans for insect control. There were big ideas about where to go to seek water and grand schemes for raising the funds that these ideas required. They certainly shouted out the need for a larger army with better weapons. There would have been chest thumping and negative comments about the other people who were attempting to gain power and control. The clothing was different and the means of spreading the word was slower and more face to face, but the national atmosphere was not all that different than the ones that we encounter in our world today.

 

It seems that God is telling us to approach our challenges from a different perspective. He wants us to place our trust in the same solutions that were provided for the people of Judah. If they had been paying attention they would have realized that they had never successfully driven off a plague of locust, defended their borders from their strong enemies, or summoned the rain. These were things that God had always done for them. From the beginning of time God has gifted humanity with a national identity, a place to dwell and to plant roots, and the provision of the things that we need to grow and to thrive. God blesses people in these ways as we trust in Him, seek out His will, and choose to live in a just and righteous manner. Joel’s voice seems to cry out across the ages to our times, and he is saying that God is not pleased with our wanton and sinful approach to life. The Lord, God Almighty, is calling to each of us and to our nations with a voice of warning and a promise of salvation. The choice is yours and it is mine. Will we repent and return to the Lord, our rock and our defender?