Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. ~Joel 1:14 (ESV)This call is repeated in Joel 2:15.
What is a Solemn Assembly? It is a call to the whole church, the people of God as one, to gather in repentance in the house of their God...a time for people to fast and pray; and seek the face of God.
Usually the solemn assembly was accompanied by fasting because throughout the Old Testament, fasting was a sign of self-humiliation, mourning and repentance. It is significant that historically the singular sign of a repentant spirit was the willingness to mourn through fasting.
What is fasting? It is giving up a need of the flesh for a greater need of the spirit.
There are several reason for fasting...to repent and seek forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9), to seek direction from God (Jeremiah 29:11-14), to bring freedom in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), but the main reasons I'm fasting are:
To draw closer to God.
But he answered, “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'.” ~ Matthew 4:4 (ESV)To help keep balance in life.
Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is helpful. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not allow anything to control me. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:12If you recall my 2013 resolutions, my focus for the year is spiritual and physical fitness. This time of fasting directly relates to my personal goals for the year.
There are several types of fasts. My church chooses to fast from food and entertainment after 3:00 pm for the week of our Solemn Assembly. Food is normally not the area that challenges me during a fast. I concentrate on what I'm giving up rather than what I'm seeking to gain and then I just bury myself in the TV, internet, music, work, etc. When those things are taken away, I am more likely to spend my time with God.
So, after 3:00 pm this week, I will spend my time reading God's Word (Hebrews 4:12), confessing my sins (Psalm 51), praying (Matthew 17:21), and investing in family and friends (Matthew 25:35-36)...not blogging.
Have a great week! I hope yours will be as fruitful as I know mine will be!