Today, July 16, 2016, on the National Mall in Washington D.C., hundreds of thousands, and perhaps even a million or more believers are gathering to spend the day seeking the heart of God. Click here for more information
The calls to repentance to the people of God in Israel/Judah were many. Prophet after prophet came with the message that the nation had turned from God and must repent and turn back. At various times, the nation responded and revival broke out. Eventually, Israel paid for continued unrepentant hearts by suffering destruction.
One of these calls to repentance that helps us today with its powerful principles is found in Joel 2:12-17: “‘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. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, ‘Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, “‘Where is their God?’”
One thing that is clear from Joel; this call to repentance is not just an individual act, but a corporate one. This is a call to a nation. Blow trumpets; set up an assembly, invite everyone, from youngest to oldest; make sure your leaders (elders) are there; and above all, do it with your whole heart.
This is a picture of genuine remorse over sin from a vast cross section of the nation. There is no reason to believe that absolutely everyone from Israel was going to come. But it was a genuine response from huge numbers, and particularly from their leaders. This was not a small, unnoticed meeting of a few “religious” people. God was calling for a nation to turn around publicly.
Lord God Almighty, what an amazing picture Your Word has painted in the book of Joel! I can imagine thousands of people from the youngest to the oldest, fasting, weeping, and repenting of personal and corporate sin before You. May our nation also stand before You, united in our brokenness, so that You may restore us again and use us for the sake of Your purposes!
–adapted from With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America by David Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
In your heart sing to the Lord, your strength and song; praise the one who has become your salvation. Give thanks that with joy you can draw water from the wells of salvation (Isa. 12:2-3). Confess that your worship is sometimes lacking because you don’t always remember the greatness of your salvation. Commit yourself to worshiping and singing with your whole heart; ask God to make you awake and alive to the power of his Word and the joy of music.
Pray for families with young children and teenagers, that the children may feel a sense of participation in worship this week and of belonging to the body of Christ.
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