Today’s Word Of Encouragement From Wayne:
“Gird yourselves with sackcloth and lament, O priests; wail, O ministers of the altar! Come spend the night in sackcloth O ministers of my God. For the grain offering and the drink offering are withheld from the house of your God. Consecrate a fast, proclaim 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”
Once again, God’s old covenant people were neglecting the Lord their God. “For a nation has invaded my land, mighty and without number; it’s teeth are the teeth of lions” (1:6) Joel wrote, revealing this invasion to be a result of the people’s lack of loyalty to the house of the Lord. The Lord, through Joel, was calling upon the priesthood to respond to this calamity. “Wail like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the bridegroom of her youth. The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off from the house of the Lord. The priests mourn, the ministers of the Lord” (1:8-9).
My brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, it is always the ministers of the Lord, those who are closest to the heart, the presence, and the inner court service to the Person of God, who are most sensitive to and aware of God’s Own holiness and our need to honor Him and His word above all else. So, in this time of falling away, God spoke to His most loyal priesthood, to call all of His covenant people to “the house of the Lord,” so that they would fast and seek the face and mercy of God.
The priesthood is always God’s first line of defense for and communication to His covenant people, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament (see once again Acts 13:1-2), for God’s priesthood represents His faithful covenant people of loyalty, communion and communication, and wisdom from God.
In this case in Joel, God saw that His priests were already in mourning and weeping (1:9), for their hearts were fully aware of the falling away of the people, represented by a lack of coming to the house of the Lord with offerings. It seems that it was only “the ministers of the Lord” who were truly aware of the terrible situation God’s people had put themselves in, and now the enemy had come in, from “Tyre, Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia” (3:4), actually cutting off the ability of the people, through deprivation, to present grain and drink offerings. God’s judgment was upon His people.
So a “solemn assembly” was called for, by God Himself, in order that God’s Own people would repent and come to His house, seeking Him. This is presently our call as well, as God’s New Covenant priesthood in this day. The simple truth and awareness for us is this: every single Christian has been born again into being a “new creation” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and this new creation that we are born again into definitely includes our recognition and obedience into being God’s present day New Covenant kingdom of priests, that He actually purchased us to be through the precious New Covenant blood of Jesus Christ (Luke 22:20, Revelation 5:9-10).
Of course in our present day the knowledge of the New Covenant and of our priesthood is almost non existent and has almost completely disappeared. That which is definitely God’s highest priority for His true people has been trampled over by those with more selfish designs, as the author of Hebrews warned, saying “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (10:29).
We need a true unto-the-Lord-God-almighty “Solemn assembly” in our day, an assembly called for by God’s priesthood to all Christians worldwide to repent of their neglect: of Jesus Christ our High Priest and of our priesthood unto God, which we have been purchased to be through the New Covenant blood of our salvation. How is it even possible for God’s church to respond to something they do not even know about or desire after? It can only be through us who do accept, obey, and rejoice in our New Covenant priesthood. We absolutely need to be proactive about our priesthood, in God’s presence, and we need to declare this true priesthood word of God from the rooftops to the entire body of Christ. Remember, our New Covenant in Jesus Christ is the one and only way of salvation and life possible for all mankind. Salvation comes only through the atoning blood of our Savior and it was Christ Himself Who declared at the last supper “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood”(Luke 22:20).
Yes beloved, minister as a priest joyfully in God’s presence today, beholding Who He is and what He has accomplished. But mourn and weep over the superficial condition of God’s Own body of Christ who apparently have no regard or revelation of either the New Covenant or of our eternal priesthood in God. We priests of our Lord God need to lovingly and yet determinedly testify to the truth of God our Father’s declared will to ALL Christians that “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s Own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). Yes we are! So let us be, in real time, who we have been created to be. Hallelujah!