Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
~~ Joel 2:12-17 (KJV)
The book of Joel is a warning and a promise with a contingency. That contingency is here.
Rend your heart and not your garment.
We all know people whose faith is all show and no substance. And we all know people whose quiet faith is all substance and not show.
I remember a lady, a quiet lady, who was faithful at church – the quiet one in the corner. If there was work to be done in the kitchen, Ida was working. If something needed cleaning, Ida was cleaning. If someone needed prayer, Ida was praying. She filled every need she could see. She was the living example of “bloom where you are planted.”
Her motivation was simple fidelity to God. His church had a need; she had a willing spirit.
Our country is in terrible shape, morally, ethically, spiritually. We hear people lamenting and decrying all over the place. But what are we doing to correct this sad state of affairs?
All the high-faluting campaigns will be found virtually useless. The people of God must return to Him in prayer and obedience. Nothing man can think of on a philosophical or psychological or sociological basis will be the cure for our sick nation. The cure can only come from God, and it will only come as the people of God turn to Him and follow His edicts. All of them, without diluting the word of God to acquiesce to political correctness.
Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them:
We must rend our hearts to return to fidelity to God.
Help us to see our hearts as You see them. Keep us soft and responsive to Your promptings. Show us the way to lead our world to Your salvation.
In Jesus’ most precious name.
First published 3 December 2012