2 Chronicles 7:1-3 – When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying « He is good; his love endures forever ».
2 Timothy 2:20-21 – But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
Welcome to the Daniel Fast of 2020. To say that this past year was different that all other years would be an enormous understatement. Shortly after the DF of 2019 COVID-19 began to break out, first in China and then spread quickly around the world. It is now believed that infections in Europe and the US began as early as December 2019. By the middle of March 2020, the entire world was engulfed in the pandemic. By the end of that month, governments across the world were imposing strict lockdowns, the closing of many businesses, the cancelation of all sporting events as well as the closing of churches. At the peak of the pandemic, more than 3/4 of the entire world’s population was living under some kind of confinement.
As of August 12th, there have been more than 20 million cases of Covid-19, and just above 746,000 deaths around the world. France alone has lost more than 30,000 people to the virus, representing roughly 465 people per million, compared to the US number of 506. As horrific and tragic as the death toll has been, it does not tell the full story of Covid-19. The sheer loss of economic activity has created a world-wide recession, and certain industries, such as travel and tourism, may never be the same again.
As many countries began to partially re-open their economies, there arose a revolt in Western nations, beginning in the US against racial prejudice and police brutality. Radical groups have actually taken over certain parts of US cities, while many call for the defunding and the disbanding of all police and military. The most famous of these post-Marxist groups in the US strongly advocate the destruction of the traditional family unit and the total societal embrace of homosexuality.
All of this comes at a time when church leaders across the planet are trying to deal with the effects of church-building closures on the life of the local assembly and the work of expanding the kingdom of heaven. The internet has allowed churches to maintain some semblance of community during the health crisis. But most churches have not been free to hold regular, unrestricted church services in more than four months!
The positive side of the internet is that it has democratized the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians, forced to stay at home on Sundays, have begun attending many different churches every week, just by the click of a button. This is positive because it permits cross-fertilisation of the Body of Christ. The downside to cyberspace Christianity, is that it turns otherwise faithful disciples into simple Christian consumers. And the first rule in consumerism is to always get the most and give the least.
Spiritual consumerism is the absolute worst disease that can befall the true Church of God. It causes us to become addicted to comfort and focused only on our short term desires. As long as there is a preacher and a music group somewhere who can help us feel good about ourselves, and can appease a guilty conscience, it matters little what is happening in the world. Like those listening intently to the orchestra on the Titanic, why be concerned with a little water on the floor as long as we can enjoy good music?
Our current circumstances can in no way change the ultimate biblical objective of the local church. The primary task of every local assembly is to transform believers into true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is simple, but not easy. Though the world around us has changed dramatically, the Lord God is still doing the same thing He did before – transforming people in order to send them into a dying world.
The theme of the Daniel Fast 2020 is to prepare the house for the coming of the Lord. As Paul wrote to his spiritual son Timothy, in every great house there are vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor. He who rids himself of the vessels of dishonor becomes a house ready for the arrival of the Lord.
It was said during the Daniel Fast 2019 that the Lord was going to move powerfully during the following 12 months. And the Lord did move powerfully, just not in the way most of us expected. As we enter into the DF 2020, know that the Lord will move powerfully again this year; and more than likely He will move in a way you cannot even begin to imagine right now.
So, I encourage you to give yourself fully to the Lord during this time of prayer and fasting. Rid yourself of the spirit of consumerism and the lethargy and passivity that usually comes with it. Don’t attempt to negotiate the terms of the Fast this year. Be either fully on, or fully off. God is ready to meet with His people in a mighty way. Decide today to be among those who have prepared themselves for His coming.