“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. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?
The prophet Joel had a broken heart for the people of his day. They had gone so long with their hearts turned away from God. God had sent judgment on them and continued to do so until they turned back to Him. The word that is used to describe their turning back to Him is repentance. It is a “turning away from something, a changing of directions.” Many times in our walk with God we ask for forgiveness but we don’t repent. We do not turn away from the sin. We ask God to forgive us but we do not turn from our sin. God wants our hearts to be turned from sin and to be turned to Him. The people had gotten away from God and God is asking them to return to Him with fasting and weeping and mourning. They should be broken because of their sin.
Verse 13 is such an encouragement. We are to have a broken heart on the inside. God doesn’t want us to appear broken and put on some sort of show, but He wants us to have a broken heart. The encouraging thing is that we can turn back to Him and that He is gracious and compassionate. He is not sitting there waiting for us to return to Him so that He can make our lives miserable. He is gracious and compassionate. When we turn back to Him and turn away from our sin, His love for us is so incredible. As Joel says in verse 14, “who knows…He may leave behind a blessing.” What a great thought. We can turn from our sin and turn back to our loving God, and He might even bless our lives for that! God wants to bless us. God wants to do amazing things in our lives. Sometimes, we have to turn from our sin and turn our hearts back to Him and allow Him to be God in our lives.
- Spend some time in prayer and ask God if there are there things in your life that you need to repent from.
- Have you started chasing after sin and stopped chasing after God?
- Do you need to return back to God with all of your heart?
Today, keep your eyes open to things in your life that have caused you to turn away from God and look for ways to turn your heart back to Him. Repent. He is gracious!!