Lent 2022 Day 34
Sat 9 Apr
Joel 2:12-27 God's still loves his people
12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing – grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.
17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.
It’s not all about warnings of impending punishment. In verse 13, God, through Joel, reminds people of his name. The Lord may be a jealous God who abhors sins, but he is also the compassionate God, for that is his name – compassionate by name, compassionate by nature. A compassionate God would never, never, sit back after punishing his people and say, “I feel better for that!”, for the very word, that part of his name, that aspect of his divinity means that he feels our suffering, not just knows about it or understands it, but feels it, too.
God wants hearts to turn to him, broken, not ripped clothing that can be replaced. Even though, you may recall, the clothes the Israelites wore in the wilderness for forty years did not wear out, God is happier to mend a broken heart than smell the waft of a burnt offering.
Will he relent? Of course, he will, for He is God. And will he also leave a blessing? Of course, he will, for He is God. If his people come back to him with broken hearts, he will relent.
How better to show the world that God is on your side than when he gives us restoration blessings? For Israel there will be a blessing on crops to the extent that the future abundance will balance back the debt of previous years. This is God’s promise.
As you look back on your life, are there periods, seasons of poor growth or even backsliding that still taunt you? Can God restore the losses of those times?
Father God, I lay my life before you, my present and my past. You offer complete forgiveness through Jesus, that will more than cover for my failures – they will not accuse or identify me when I come in repentance to you. My past failures are a source of regret, and I dare to let go of them so that you may redeem them, and restore me. I hand over to you my whole future for you to direct. Amen.
Rend your hearts: