READING: Joel 1-3
“Turn to me with all your heart.”
“Repent.” Most of us have heard the word a lot, but that fact doesn’t mean that we fully comprehend the concept. With that truth in mind, we turn today to the book of Joel for guidance and clarification.
“The day of the Lord,” primarily understood as a future day of final judgment, is a central focus of the book. The book of Joel, however, doesn’t limit itself to a future perspective; rather, Joel talked about God’s judgment in his day via a plague of locusts, and he called the Hebrews to repent.
The picture of repentance in this book, though, is much different from the superficial sense of repentance I often hear about in today’s church. The people (particularly their leaders) were to “grieve like a young woman dressed in sackcloth, mourning for the husband of her youth” (Joel 1:8) as if her husband had died. They were to, under God’s command, “turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes” (Joel 2:12-13). Their return to God was to be complete and without compromise, and it was to reach into the depth of their being – even to the point of angst of their heart.
God would be “gracious and compassionate,slow to anger, abounding in faithful love” (Joel 2:13), but He nevertheless demanded genuine repentance from His people. All of us need to hear this word.
- Spend time today in genuine, heartfelt repentance before God. Let God break your heart as needed.
- Thank Him that He is gracious and compassionate.
PRAYER: “Father, wound my heart however You wish to bring me to repentance.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 1-4