Sunday, July 8, 2012

Turn Your Hearts To God

The Lord says, "Turn (and keep on coming) to Me now, while there is time. Give Me all your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, mourning (until every hindrance is removed). Let your remorse tear at your hearts and not your garments." Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered (slow to anger); He is full of kindness (loving-kindness) and anxious not to punish you. Who knows? Perhaps even yet He will decide to let you alone and give you a blessing instead of His terrible curse. Perhaps He will give you so much that you can offer your grain and wine to the Lord as before! Joel 2:12-14 (TLB).

This Scripture passage gives a clear description of repentance, “Turn to Me …. Give Me all your hearts.” God hates sin and evil (Psalm 45:7) because sin breaks His heart. He wants all people to turn to Him and away from their sins. God wants no one to fall into judgment and condemnation (2 Peter. 3:9).

For the Israelites during the time of the Prophet Joel, destruction would soon be upon them if they continued to sin. The Prophet Joel, whose name means “The Lord is God,” called on the people then and today to repent of their sins and turn to God. God is full of mercy, compassion and filled with unfailing love (see also Exodus 34:6-7; Numbers 14:18; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 145:8; Jonah 4:2). He is freely willing to forgive if we turn to Him (Joel 2:13). God wants to love, care, and protect for His people and not punish them.

In the Old Testament, people tore their clothes as an outward sign of sorrow, grief, and mourning (e.g., Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31; 2 Kings 19:1). However, this outward sign would be a meaningless and useless ritual, unless the heart is broken in true repentance, remorse and a broken heart over sin. The Prophet Joel told the people then and today that God does not want just an outward display of repentance and remorse for sin without true and wholehearted inward repentance (1 Samuel 16:7; Matthew 23:1-36). God through the Prophet Joel told the people He wanted genuine and wholehearted turning from sin and evil. In Hebrew, the heart is the center of thoughts, faith, and will.

Be sure your attitude towards God is correct, not just your outward actions.  With true and heartfelt turning to God, He will send an outpouring of His forgiveness and blessing. But this blessing and forgiveness would come only if we genuinely give up our sins. Moreover, true repentance leads to the only escape from God’s judgment and wrath. So, no one should be afraid to come to God in honesty and humility because He is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and full of kindness. Moreover, God can bring blessings from the most tragic and traumatic situations (Roman 8:28–30) if we will only turn from our sins and trust Him.

1 comment:

  1. I found your devotional blog this morning while looking for devotionals about being God's beloved. I just wanted to bring encourage to you--God loves what you do as you share Him and His Word through these wonderful messages. His Word never returns void! He is so good, and You are His truly beloved and a mighty woman of God!

    Thank you also for this post--this excerpt from Joel 2 is actually one of my favorite passages in the Old Testament that often stirs my heart to pray, especially for the Body of Christ and our nation. Thanks for sharing these many devotionals to move others deeper in their relationship with Jesus. :)


God bless you! You are loved by God (Romans 5:5).