When you’re going through desperate times, don’t run away from God; run to Him. That’s the lesson Joel was communicating to the Israelites in today’s passage, Joel 1:3-20.
Joel 1:14 (NIV)
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.
On verses 13-20: Joel’s nation was facing desperate times. A famine meant that offerings were withheld from the house of God (v13). Food supplies were cut off, joy and gladness as well (v16). Crops had dried up (v17), livestock were anxious (v18), and fire had devoured the pastures and forests (v19-20).
In the midst of these desperate times, Joel calls the priests not only to mourn and wail (v13) but also to declare a fast and call a sacred assembly so that the people could come together in God’s presence with prayer and fasting (v14).
What can we learn from this? When you’re going through desperate times, run to God, not away from Him. He is the One you need. One of the best ways you can run to God is through fasting and prayer with your church. Just as Joel says in verses 14, “Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly.”
What is fasting? Fasting is voluntarily reducing your intake of food for a set time with a spiritual goal in mind. When we fast, instead of eating we devote more time and energy to praying and drawing near to God. I like Pastor Ronnie Floyd’s definition for fasting:
“Fasting is abstaining from food with a spiritual goal in mind. It is when I pursue the God of heaven to do something powerful and supernatural in and through my life.” (Pastor Ronnie Floyd)
Heavenly Father, thank You that in my desperate times, I can run to You, not away from You. Just as Joel encouraged his people to draw near to God through prayer and fasting, may I make the most of every opportunity to draw near to You through prayer and fasting with my church family. I believe that as I seek You honestly and humbly, You will have more room to work in my life, and that You will breathe new life in me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!