What does God Require of Us

“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
Joel 2:13

“Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep before 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? ”
Joel 2:17

Background

In these challenging, verses, Joel is summoning up the priests of the temple to weep between the porch and the altar. A period of baal worship had come to an end, however godliness didn’t ensue, but a spirit of indifference had set in. The temple was not repaired properly until 813. (2 Kings 12:6)
They were facing a natural, as well as a spiritual disaster. God is speaking through the prophet, for Judah to come to national repentance. Judgements of locusts, drought and harassment of local enemies had occurred , something we can identify with, and is as relevant today with the pandemic. and natural disasters happening in the world. We have turned our back on God, allowing secularism and godlessness to invade the church.

Future Prophetic Purpose

The prophetic purpose also of the book, was also to introduce the “Future Day of the Lord.” After repentance , God promises he would then reveal His sovereignty to Israel and the Nations in the last days. Interestingly, the name of Joel, means “Jehovah is God.”  Joel is also known as the prophet of the “Holy Spirit. “I will pour out My spirit on all peoples. Joel 2:28-32

Both Peter & Paul use this passage as a prophecy to Christians in Acts 2:16 -21

In the New Testament, the old covenant was replaced by the new covenant, through the shedding of Jesus’s blood on the cross, the curtain was torn in two. Peter assure us “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possessions, that you may declare the praises  of Him who called you out of darkness, into His wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2::9

And He has made us to be a Kingdom of priests to His God & Father, to Him be the glory and  the dominion, forever and ever. Rev 1:6

Co-workers with Christ

So scripture clearly indicates, that as Christ’s body, we are all a kingdom of priests, having the privilege of being able to stand in the gap. Intercession  is not just for the few, but for us all. To recite a list of needs is not a  pleasing sacrifice to the Lord. He desires us to dig much deeper. To  communicate with our heavenly Father in the Spirit. To share His burden. to listen to HIs voice, and weep with His tears. To join Him in his heart cries for mankind, the church, the world. His love for mankind is limitless, and everlasting, and unconditional, and his desire is that none should  perish. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

However, we worship a holy and righteous God, and  sin will separate us from that love, either individually, as a church, or a nation. God’s desire is for us  to act justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly before Him. Micah 6:8

Going Deeper

May I be permitted to challenge us ALL, to go deeper in the Holy Spirit, surrendering our whole will, mind, and spirit unto God on the altar Feeling His heartbeat, flowing with His desires. Let Your will be done, Your Kingdom come on earth, as it is in Heaven. Math 5:10

The porch represents the flesh, the outer court worship, the altar represents the place of sacrifice, where our spirits meet with the Holy Spirit.

To travail, we stand in identification with our heavenly Father. He shares  the burden, we pray it through, sometimes we can encounter a deep anguish of the soul, an ache in the heart, which can cause one to groan and wail, praying also in tongues. This could at times also include lack of sleep and food.” In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes through us through wordless groans.” Rom 8: 26-27
Jeremiah said  Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day & night.” Jer 9:1

Paul’s profound prayer in Phil 3:16 illustrates the very purpose of life as a Christian. “That I may know Christ and the power of His rising from the dead, sharing in His pains, and changing into the form of His death.” 

Prayer of Repentance

Father, You alone are worthy to be praised. You created us by Your mighty power, and  redeemed us by You precious blood. Thank You Jesus. As representatives of Your  body “The Church” in our Nation, we have failed to keep your commandments. We have failed to stand on Your Word, we have compromised, embracing false philosophies and destructive ungodly thinking, polluting Your house.

We have ignored your calls to holiness , we kneel before you naked, poor and wretched. We repent of our sins and plead for Your forgiveness, grace, mercy and love, for the honour of Your Name is at stake.

Cleanse our hearts from within, and renew a right spirit within us. Enable us to walk into the future, with a desire to do Your will, and to live godly lives in Christ Jesus.

Lord, we know Your greatest desire is to pour Your Holy Spirit out on a dry and thirsty land. We ask that You may set on fire our pulpits once again, like you did in the past, for it is only Your anointing, that breaks the yoke.
The world has changed, but Your Word remains the same forever and ever. It is a living Word, which when it is sent forth, it will accomplish what it is sent to do, and will not return void.

As You are working Your purposes out on this earth, help us in our weakness to remain faithful, to stand and keep standing on Your Word. To be Your ambassadors of salvation, to those souls who are perishing on the highway to hell.
A thousand years is like a day to You. You are never too late or early, but we know You will be returning to earth very soon, to take up Your place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords of all the earth.
Blow the trumpet in Zion. And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of  of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand. Joel 2:1 AMEN

Pam Yates