The Book of Joel is an instruction manual for the end-time church. Chapter 1 describes the national crisis that Israel was facing in their day, both a natural disaster (drought and famine) and a military crisis (Babylonian invasion). Chapter 2 outlines the response God requires to release protection and blessing and then describes the breakthrough of His blessing. Chapter 3 shows how God vindicates His people.
These things happened in Israel, but the principles set forth here are eternal. God says “when your nation is in crisis, do these things!” Our nation needs this instruction today. We have all kinds of natural disasters throughout the country and we have a corrupt government that is leading us to the place of military invasion. We’re being sold into enemy hands! Our only response can be to cry out to the One Who is All-Powerful and Mighty to save. This judgment is released on us not for our harm, but to draw us back to the One Who created us.
“Even now, declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your hearts 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 2:12-13
Jesus gave His life to save us, to set us free from the bondage of sin, to heal all of our diseases, to cleanse us from guilt, to give us everlasting life, to secure our future in glory! God is not double-minded, He did not do this and then change His mind and decide to wipe us out with disaster. No! He is jealous for us, His people. His desire is for each and every person to turn to Him and come under His blessing and protection through the blood of Jesus. But we must choose to turn. We must say ‘yes’ to Him. He can’t do that for us. But He will help us to make that choice. By allowing His judgments, He lets us see how utterly helpless we are to fight the sin, the greed, the corruption, the wrong thinking that has beset us and our nation. Man does not have answers to the problems we face. Only God, the Creator of all, can turn things around. If only we will cry out to Him, He will do it.
He tells us that because He first loved us, we can love Him. Holy Spirit is pouring out a fresh touch of His love in our day so that we can turn to loving Him and thanking Him. The first commandment, the one that is most important to Him is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength, all your soul and all your mind.”
We fast and pray as an act of humility before our God, to show our dependence and our thanksgiving to Him. We acknowledge our sin and the sins of our nation and we grieve in our hearts because our ways are not His ways! Our thinking is not His thinking! He is Love, He is Righteous, He is Truth. Repentance means we turn from our ways and we walk in His ways. We set out hearts to follow Him, to be transformed by Him and to become like Him.
Tomorrow, as a portion of the Body of Christ gathers to fast and pray for our nation in Houston, please join in and acknowledge our need for the Lord Jesus Christ. We need His leadership in this nation, we need His blessing, we need His protection. He is Almighty, He is able and He is willing.
Are you willing….to Respond?