SOUTHERN BAPTIST’S DAY OF PRAYER: Call a Sacred Assembly

“Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land Consecrate the People to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart. Blow  the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly.” (Joel 1:14; 2:12,15-16, NIV)

Probably, the reason you are reading this booklet is that a spiritual leader has asked you to prepare for a sacred assembly or a time to renew your covenant commitments to the Lord. Sacred assembly may be a new term for you, but the concept is ancient. In Scripture:

Sacred assemblies were occasions for God’s people collectively to worship Him, to  repent of personal and corporate sin, to remember His special blessings on them,  and to anticipate future blessings. The prescribed sacred assemblies (or holy  convocations) for Israel included the Sabbath (Lev. 23:3) and seven other days of  sacred assembly: the first (Passover) and seventh days of the Feast of  Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:4-8), the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost, Lev. 23:15-21),  the Feast of Trumpets (Lev. 23:23-25), the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:26-32), and  the first and eighth days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:33-36).

Sacred assemblies were times for God’s people to confess and repent of their  sins. They were times to renew the covenant relationship with the Lord and return  to Him in faithful love and obedience. They were times for worship and sacrifice,  feasting and fasting. Even with these regular opportunities to renew fellowship with  God, His people tended to depart from Him and from obedience to His commands.  Spiritual leaders knew that the sacred assembly was a time for corporate  repentance in the face of God’s righteous judgments.1

During the days of the prophet Joel, a great swarm of locusts brought devastation on the nation. This was a time to weep, mourn, wail, grieve, and despair. Joel asked, “Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors?” (Joel 1:2, HCSB). This was such a great catastrophe, future generations would talk about it with their children and grandchildren (see Joel 1:3). This time of great national disaster caused the prophet Joel to shout:

Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in  the land Consecrate the People to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to  the LORD. “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart. Blow  the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people,

consecrate the assembly” (Joel 1:14; 2:12,15-16, NIV).

Desperate times called for desperate measures. In their distress the people were ready to cry out to the Lord for help. The prophet knew a sacred assembly was the appropriate time and way to turn to the Lord.

Many sense our nation is at a desperate time that calls for desperate measures. How many disasters have we experienced lately that have been some of the worst in history—the kind we will describe to our children and grandchildren? At times like this, God’s call to us is “Return to Me.” On the occasion of one sacred assembly during King Solomon’s reign, God made the following promise.

If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume  the land, or if I send pestilence on My people, and My people who are called by My  name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways,  then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land (2 Chronicles

7:13-14, HCSB).

The healing of our land is waiting on the repentance of God’s people. So is the healing of our marriages, families, churches, and cities. Sacred assemblies are appropriate times and ways for people, families, churches, cities, and nations to return to the Lord. Now is the right time for us to declare a holy fast, sound the alarm, and call a sacred assembly. Now is the time for us to return to a right relationship with God.

Now is the time to renew our covenant commitments to Jesus Christ. We dare not rush into the presence of a holy God unprepared. God commanded Joel to consecrate the people. I’ve prepared this booklet for you to prepare yourself for a time of sacred assembly.

PRAY that the Lord will help you prepare this week to enter His presence.

________

1. Claude King, Come to the Lord’s Table (Nashville: LifeWay Press, 2006), 4.

Author: Pastor Don

Don Walton is our Senior Pastor. He leads our congregation through biblical and relevant messages every week. Each week you can hear his Sunday sermon on our website or listen to past sermons on our website’s “Weekly Sermons” page. Don also writes many of our Daily Devotions and has written a number of books and booklets to help you grow in your Christian faith.

Don is the founder and director of Time For Truth Ministries, a ministry dedicated to educating the church about end time lies and equipping it to combat them with the truths of God’s Word. Visit the Time For Truth network of websites for additional information and for resources that will both edify and enlighten you.

(1) Time For Truth Ministries Website

(2) Blog & May Blog Website

(3) Nothing But The Bible Website