Joel 2:12 “’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…’”
Up to this point, Joel has been forecasting disaster for the people of God. Consuming locust, drought, starvation, fire, quakes and darken sun and moon fill the first of the prophecy. God is bringing punishment on Judah but as He always does He is offering repentance. He obviously doesn’t want to bring these disasters on His people but they aren’t giving Him much choice. Joel pleads with the people on God’s behalf to change and come back to God.
In this plea, Joel gives us an idea of how we should come to God in repentance, seeking His forgiveness. It is a good check list for us as well. First, returning to God must be done with all the heart. No halfway measures are accepted. It’s all or nothing with God and always has been. Next, fasting is implied. Why fasting; because it helps us give our full attention to the repentance we are making. Weeping and mourning are involved. True mourning, indicating true sadness for what we did to our beautiful relationship. The heart must be involved. A broken, contrite heart is required. Tear your heart rather than your shirt. No outward display replaces the inward feeling. If your sin does not break your heart then it is still with you.
Task for Today: If you have wandered far away, far from the fold, then you are called to return. God doesn’t leave you but if you left Him you need to come back. This is not something to put off. Today is the day of salvation. God wants you back, otherwise you will suffer the bad things of the beginning of the book.