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Joel 2:12-18 (NIV)
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 have pity
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the LORD your God.

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 temple porch and the altar.
Let them say, "Spare your people, O 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?' "

18 Then the LORD will be jealous for his land
and take pity on his people.

Fasting is an awkward subject. The scripture seems to give different reasons for different kinds of fasts and different practices for each one. The one Joel calls for in this passage is a desperate one. It is marked by a "torn" heart; the tearing of pride and exposing of one's insufficiency. In fact, the people are called to forfeit even the most intimate moments without regard for one's privacy. It seems to be a matter of life or death. And it has to do with the subtle deception of self-sufficiency that gives place to idolatry and spiritual adultery.

Even in a time of spiritual renewal, as Judah was experiencing under young Joash's rule, not all the "high places" were removed. This didn't seem to cause any problems immediately. But when faced with circumstances that were beyond their control (the invasion of the locusts and eventually of the foreign armies), they were left asking questions if God had deserted them. It appeared to be so, but was it really that they had deserted Him?

True worship requires a humility that acknowledges one's complete dependence upon God. Any place we give to self-sufficiency or in-dependence exposes us the the circumstances of our life's choices and even things beyond our control. When life "happens," and we can't solve it, what do we do? Maybe we leave our pride behind and expose ourselves to declare once again dependence upon God. He is jealous for about his people, and will respond to our humble return to life centered on Him.

Lord, let my life remain centered. Help me to see when it is not. And let fasting produce it's work in me and have pity on me.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 5, 2007 9:36 AM.

The previous post in this blog was You Version (by Jeff Hamilton).

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