The day of the Lord is approaching. No one knows the day or the hour, but Jesus told us that we would certainly know the signs of the times. In the prophet Joel, the Lord instructs believers to fast and pray, rending their hearts, as they see the day of the Lord approaching.
I have noticed a prophecy being fulfilled, in our time. 2 Peter 3 describes an attitude that is very prevalent – not just in the world, but in the church today. It is the attitude of, “Yeah, right,” and “Whatever.”
“3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. (prophecy concerning the theory of evolution – emphasis mine) 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever! Amen.”
A day to God is a thousand years! Here Peter basically tells his church that Christ will not come back for thousands of years. Why? This is the important part – because the Lord is patient. The Lord is slow to anger. Which brings us to where we are today. So, he says, that in the end many will say, “Where is the coming that was foretold?” “Everything is continuing as it has from the beginning.” The idea that everything will continue as it has and that something can’t happen, because it hasn’t happened is called the normalcy bias. We are living in a complacent era in the Western church where we are under a strong delusion of this type of normalcy bias. Many believe that God will not judge us and believe anything goes, and that our relationship with God is based on what we feel God will think about the issue. It is rare to see a healthy fear of God in our time.
In verse 17, notice that Peter says, “do not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall away from your secure position.” He contrasts this with the article “BUT.” What is the contrast of lawlessness? Grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When we stand in the grace of God, this is not a license to live a life of lawlessness. The Lord writes his truth and his law on our hearts and consciences. But, many followers of Jesus Christ today have taken the “God forgives me, so it doesn’t matter what I do” attitude. They exchange the truth of God for a lie.
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?”’
So, again, fasting is the way the Lord instructs his people to prepare for his coming. He also says that everyone, regardless of age or situation should, upon seeing the signs of the coming of the Lord, find time to weep before the Lord in fasting.
Are we consecrating an assembly? Are we declaring a holy fast? Are you participating or observing? Are you ready to stand in the gap and seek the Lord for mercy, in a time of destruction and judgement?
Insecurities in our relationship with the Lord prevents many from fasting and repenting. We repent, knowing that God is compassionate and WANTS to forgive. He doesn’t want to bring judgement. He doesn’t desire for us to perish. This is why he sent his one and only Son Jesus Christ to become a sin offering for us. Jesus’ loving kindness and merciful sacrifice rescues us from all of our sin.
So, go into your fast and into your time of repentance with the KNOWLEDGE that GOD IS GOOD! God is loving. God is merciful. God longs to intervene and bring grace. God longs to reveal himself to you. Seek him, without fear! A heart of repentance, needs not ever be afraid of God.
“Father, in Jesus’ name, I rejoice that you long to forgive. You are slow to anger, abounding in grace and mercy. I also know that we are approaching the day you will send Jesus to rescue us. We are drawing closer to judgement.
I pray that you remember your people. Remember your name. Do not blot us out from the face of the earth. Fill me with your strength and your light – that I may shine to the ends of the earth for you, Oh Lord.
It says in your Word that judgement begins with the church. I pray that you will have mercy. I pray that you will bring repentance to the pastors and leaders who are living in sin and leading people astray. I ask that your Spirit will speak to the elders and teachers. I ask that you warn the missionaries and those who teach your Word. I pray that you will lead the Shepards in righteousness and refine them in your refiners fire. I pray that they will lead the flock of the Lord with love, mercy and with a servant attitude. I pray for my pastor today, asking for your protection and support over his life.
I pray that you will raise up more workers for your harvest field. I ask that in these last days that the church will not be caught sleeping, but that we will be awake, with our lamps filled with your Spirit’s power and presence.
Remember your people. Remember your name, Oh Lord. Protect us in body, mind, soul and spirit. Cover us with the power and protection of the blood of the Lamb. May we be found blameless and spotless in your sight, by the name of Jesus and his sacrifice. May we be found full of your Spirit, with our lamps full of oil.
Raise up more people to fast and to seek your face in righteousness and holiness. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”