A couple weeks ago the Book of Joel came to my mind. Then a few days ago the Book of Joel came to my mind. And at 4:00 this morning, I woke up, and there it was again. I don’t know about you, but when thoughts reoccur, I try to trace the origin or move in the direction I feel I am being led.
The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel: Hear this, O elders, And listen, all inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this happened in your days Or in your fathers’ days? Tell your sons about it, And let your sons tell their sons, And their sons the next generation.
I read it, and then read it again a few days later, and I wonder, what if we really just follow God’s advice to Joel?
Joel 1: 14 Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.
Joel 2 : 12,13 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast call a sacred assembly.
Fasting was something we read about in church when I was growing up, but it wasn’t something we did. As an adult, I can trace some of the most significant breakthroughs in my life, to prayer and fasting.
We’ve watched, we’ve waited, we’ve hoped, we’ve prayed, we’ve sheltered at home, and kept six feet apart, and yet we see no end in sight. We don’t even know how it will end, or what the world will look like, when it does.
But we do know what the Book of Joel says.
There are certainly many other references to prayer, fasting, and crying out to the Lord. Jesus even told his disciples when they couldn’t cast out an evil spirit that, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29
Four days ago Brazil’s president called on his entire country for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting. It’s also part of our history as a country in times of great distress. I read about that too!
Good Friday is two days away. What if we just took that one day …just that one…the day we commemorate the crucifixion… and every time we feel hungry we choose others over ourselves and we cry out to the Lord.
Just one day, not 40.
Surely we see by now God is the only one who can save us!
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
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