In ancient times, the Priests called a fast. The direction came from the Lord and it was preparing the way for what He had planned to come or that the Nation needed to humble themselves to seek Him for their future life, protection and prosperity. This is crystal clear during Solomon’s time, when he built the temple and prayed for the Lord to visit in 2 Chronicles chapter 7. The Lord answered his cry in verses 12-17 -
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
During the second world war, King George VI in the UK called all the Commonwealth nations to prayer for those who were fighting against the enemy. Calling the people to pray and seek the Lord is not a new thing. We have called a fast - specifically, an Ezra fast - with very relevant dates and scripture to support our fast.
If you are a follower of the Jewish calendar, you will notice that there are a crazy - in a good way - number of events. This month always celebrates Rosh Hashanah - basically, the New Year, Yom Kippur - the day of Atonement, the Fast of Gedaliah and Sukkoth - Feast of Tabernacles. In addition, there are a number of other events which only take place every 50 or so years which, also, converge with some of these feasts. Namely, the 70th Year of Jubilee and the 4th Blood Moon tetrad. (Check out our calendar on this site)
Why is the Jewish Calendar so important? It is simple - it is all about God’s plan for His people. Jesus wasn’t sent to live in Canada or Peru or Australia or Sweden or Ghana. God sent him to a relatively small country to show His power, love and grace over His creation. All these things can mean that man gets a bit paranoid about when He will return and that these unique events hail the rapture - when Jesus will return to take believers, from all time, to be with Him. I don’t believe that is the case but I don’t know! No-one does, we are hypothesizing!
We believe that God is Sovereign and we do not fear because He has promised us, many times, that He is in control and He will return - when His Father decides. However, at the Lighthouse, we have recently renovated our Sanctuary with a new platform which includes a baptismal tank. We are planning to return on September 13th.
This is a significant date - as it represents the 1st day of the 7th month (that is Tishri 1 - New Year’s Day for Israel). Jeshua & Zerubbabel rebuilt the Temple and on that day - Tishri 1 - re-dedicated the altar back to the Lord after it was destroyed. They, also, celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, starting 14 days later - which will be September 27th. We will, also.
And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem. 2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak[a] and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. 3 Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings. 4 They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings in the number required by ordinance for each day.
There is added significance for us, that we re-dedicate the altar in His house - when we read that Ezra, the priest was called to return to Jerusalem and to re-establish God’s house, he embarked on a journey. The road from Babylon, where the nation was held captive for 70+ years, to Jerusalem would take 4-5 months. Only 8 days in - 90 miles of a 1500 mile trek - he stopped! Why? because in the near 50,000 people with him there were NO LEVITES! No priests to minister. He sent to a local province for honorable men which took 4 days. In chapter 8 v 21, he writes - Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.
The Ahava canal - a place of love and the essence of life - is where they spent 3 days to prepare for the return to Jerusalem. They needed to seek God (Connection), find the right way (Direction) and help to care for their young ones and their possessions (Protection). They arrived safely in August of that year. Praise God!
What a month September will be! This is not special to one group or one person or one church. We should prepare for what He has planned for His people. Amen?
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