“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”
In this scripture, the prophet, Joel is pleading with the people of Judah to return to the Lord. The book of Joel is a warning to the people about the dangers of turning from God. This passage is beautiful and reveals the true nature of God, His judgment and His abundant mercy toward His people. God’s heart is that no one turns away from Him, but that all return to Him with all their hearts.
Examine yourself today, and determine if you are walking with the Lord? Or are you walking in the footsteps of the people Joel is speaking to? You may call yourself a Christian, but are you still walking in the way of the world? There are some signs and indicators in your life that will help you determine this fact.
Are you ignoring God’s word and you do not like what God says in His words because it goes against what you want to do in your life? Do you continue to harbour hidden sins in your life, and put on an outwardly Christian face? Are you deliberately disobeying God’s word, and are you disregarding God’s correction in your life?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then it is time to return to God. To do so, it must begin in the heart. Not to show people, but a sincere desire to return to Him. Joel 2:12-13 says “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” When you come in this manner, it is because of a genuine disgust of your sin. It is an expression of your need for a saviour.
Rather than rending your garments, rend your heart. Rending your garment is only an outwardly religious act without an actual change of heart. Whereas rending your heart is when you genuinely understand the dreadful nature of your sinful flesh, and you cry out to God for help and restoration.
Deuteronomy 4:29 says “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Search after God with all your heart and with all your soul. You see, to seek the Lord is to live. It is to be freed from the clutches of sin and darkness and enter into His marvellous light.
Amos 5:4 says “For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live;” So, seek God with all your heart, and you will live. Amen! Pray to God that He may create in you a clean heart and that He renew a right spirit within you (Psalm 51:10).
Friends, God loves you, and He desires that you return to Him with a rend heart. We have a merciful God who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love; He relents over disaster (Joel 2:13). Revelation 3:19 says “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”
In conclusion, if you are walking in the way of the world, return to God with fasting, weeping, and mourning. You can do so with full assurance that God is merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and He will restore you.
Instead, if you choose to continue in sin, Romans 2:8 says “but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”
Today is the day; now is the time to decide and come before an awesome God. Make Him your treasure that He may He be all that you desire.