21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 17 Blow the Trumpet

Is fasting for those who live in the age of grace? What is its purpose and place? We have been exploring many scriptures to understand why and how we fast. Today, we will examine a stirring passage of scripture in the Old Testament that prophetically points to the end of the age, to a day that the scriptures refer to as “The Day of the Lord.” It will take several days to unpack this passage in full, so each day, be sure to come back for the full teaching!

The Day of the Lord is considered throughout scripture as the last day on earth, a day of judgement and wrath like none has ever seen before. This day in time, is definitely occurring in the time of the church, the time of those redeemed by grace. It says in the book of Amos, chapter 5, that we should not long for the day of the Lord. “Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light.”

We have been studying Isaiah 58, in which the Lord opens our heart to his heart’s desire – our repentance, the lowering of our hearts before him, so that others are impacted positively by our righteous acts that come from humble hearts. It is hand in hand key to fasting. God wants our hearts. God wants our repentance. In the age of grace, there is nothing more important, there is nothing more closely related to grace than repentance that transforms our lives, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Joel 2 unveils a picture into the Day of the Lord, and judgements from God on a land and a nation. It’s important to understand this. God judges nations – even in the age of grace. The lie the devil has told the church in America – and it is a very pious sounding lie – is that we can’t expect a nation to follow the Lord. Those who believe this would say, “All that matters is the hearts of individuals.” God is very much concerned with every part of the picture -big and small. A nation that is living in sin is very much a picture of many individuals who are turned from the Lord, to follow their own paths and their own hearts. The church should be very much concerned by this. The church needs to ask, “Why am I not impacting this nation, with my life, with my votes and with my prayers?”

The New Testament church turned the Roman Empire upside down. They also stood in the face of incredible persecutions. They didn’t change their theology to make people like them more. The stood in Christ in front of the sword, humiliation, slander, prison, wild beasts, poverty and more. They didn’t say, “Why don’t these Romans like us more? Obviously our message is offensive and needs to be more loving.” The just kept loving – because they were loving. And they kept suffering for Christ, when people brought false accusations against them.

But, now we live in a time that has been foretold by many prophets. We live in a time of compromise and tickling ears. We live in a time where churches just want to have their seats filled and care more about money than if the people in the seats will be able to stand before God on judgement day with confidence or trembling in fear.

In referring to the day of the Lord, the prophet Joel calls for fasting. When you see judgements approaching – know that they are from the Lord. The only person who can deliver from this oncoming army is our Father in heaven. The only person who can deliver from the mouth of the destroyer is our Lord. And he tells us how to do it with fasting. We are to sound the trumpet, so others can fast and be ready, too. Let’s read.

Joel 2 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

An army of locusts

Blow the trumpet in Zion;
    sound the alarm on my holy hill.

Let all who live in the land tremble,
    for the day of the Lord is coming.
It is close at hand –
    a day of darkness and gloom,
    a day of clouds and blackness.
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
    a large and mighty army comes,
such as never was in ancient times
    nor ever will be in ages to come.

Before them fire devours,
    behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
    behind them, a desert waste –
    nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses;
    they gallop along like cavalry.
With a noise like that of chariots
    they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
    like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

At the sight of them, nations are in anguish;
    every face turns pale.
They charge like warriors;
    they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line,
    not swerving from their course.
They do not jostle each other;
    each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defences
    without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city;
    they run along the wall.
They climb into the houses;
    like thieves they enter through the windows.

10 Before them the earth shakes,
    the heavens tremble,
the sun and moon are darkened,
    and the stars no longer shine.
11 The Lord thunders
    at the head of his army;
his forces are beyond number,
    and mighty is the army that obeys his command.
The day of the Lord is great;
    it is dreadful.
    Who can endure it?

Rend your heart

12 ‘Even now,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘return to me with all your heart,
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.’

13 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.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent
    and leave behind a blessing –
grain offerings and drink offerings
    for the Lord your God. (emphasis mine)

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
    declare a holy fast,
    call a sacred assembly.
16 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.
17 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?”’

The Lord’s answer

18 Then the Lord was jealous for his land
    and took pity on his people.

19 The Lord replied[a] to them:

‘I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
    enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
    an object of scorn to the nations.

20 ‘I will drive the northern horde far from you,
    pushing it into a parched and barren land;
its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea
    and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.
And its stench will go up;
    its smell will rise.’

Surely he has done great things!
21     Do not be afraid, land of Judah;
    be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things!
22     Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
    for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
    the fig-tree and the vine yield their riches.
23 Be glad, people of Zion,
    rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
    because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
    both autumn and spring rains, as before.
24 The threshing-floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten –
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm[b] –
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God,
    and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

The day of the Lord

28 ‘And afterwards,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
    and on the earth,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
    there will be deliverance,
    as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
    whom the Lord calls.[c]

So, here in Joel, the Lord tells us to fast, as we see the day approaching. In verse 12 he says, “EVEN NOW, as we see the day approaching.” I know many will read this and say, “How sensationalistic. Jesus isn’t returning today. What kind of fear mongering is this?” It doesn’t say to fast on the day of the Lord’s return. It says to prepare and fast, EVEN NOW, as we see the day approaching. On the day of the Lord, it will be too late. We are to sound the trumpet and call others to fast, as well. That is what I am doing today – sounding the trumpet. He tells us to rend our hearts, not our clothes. We are told that in the end, we are to give our hearts to the Lord in a special way that he describes, through fasting and repentance.

Prayer Focus:

Let’s focus our hearts on the prayers given in this scripture!

Heavenly Father, I see the signs of the times. I see the judgements and fallout from sin on my land. I see the judgements from sin on my family. I pray that today your Spirit will direct my prayers and my repentance.

I pray, as you instruct me to pray here in Joel, “‘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?””

Lord, show yourself strong! Pour out your Spirit. Bring repentance in the church. Turn many hearts back to you. Lord, deliver us from our own deception. It says in your Word that before Christ returns there will be a great falling away. Please deliver me from this. Please deliver me from deception. Please deliver me from my own weaknesses. I know we are tempted by our own evil desires. Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord, and renew a right spirit in me.

Please protect and deliver my family and loved ones from a spirit of deception. Please have mercy on us. Lord, reveal to us any wicked ways that we need to turn from. Lord, I am willing to be wrong. I humble myself before you. Show me what I need to give up to you. Bring a spiritual cleansing, Oh Lord.

Bring a spiritual cleansing to the church. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, in Jesus’ name. May our hearts be open to you. Soften our hearts, Lord. Soften and do not harden. Bring the softening of your Holy Spirit.

Lord, tear down the altars of Baal in our nation. The altars of pornography, the altars of greed, the altars of abortion, the altars of selfishness, the altars of idolatry, the altars of witchcraft, the altars of the god of money, the altars of lying and the altars of impurity, obscenity and adultery. Lord, bring repentance and salvation.

May Jesus be lifted up! Be lifted up in hearts and lives. Build your kingdom in hearts, lives and families, oh Lord! Build up your holy people in strength. May we not rot in weakness from willful sin.

Deliver us from the hordes attacking us on every side. Deliver us from the enemy the devil, who comes to kill, steal and destroy. The devil comes to destroy, but you come to destroy his works. I am insufficient and weak in face of this great destruction. But, in Christ, I am strong. Make me strong in the Lord and in his mighty strength. Fill me with your powerful Spirit. May I put on the full armor of God, so I can stand in the day of evil. In Jesus’ name.

Clothe me in your righteousness, oh Lord! You alone can save! I thank you you for Jesus. I thank you for the cross. I thank you that you defend me and you deliver me! I pray, Lord, that your grace will be sufficient for me and your power made perfect in my weakness! I love you, Lord. I thank you for your love!

I thank you for your goodness! I praise you for your deliverance. Your deliverance is perfect. You stand for me. You fight for me! I worship you today. In Jesus’ name! Amen.

Tomorrow, we will focus on the promises of the Lord, when we repent through fasting and prayer.

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