Wednesday, 22 November 2023
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;” -Joel 2:12 [ESV]
The book of Joel shows the loving character of God as a Father who desires that His children wouldn’t perish but be saved. Throughout God’s Word the message of a loving Father to His people is a call to repentance and returning or in other words, it’s a love letter to His children to come back to Him. Starting from Genesis (3:22) until Revelation (22:17) all that the loving Father expresses is a call to come back to Him. Think of how a home is prepared for the arrival of a new born and how the parents take care of every detail for the child’s protection and growth! How far beyond our Heavenly Father has done for us, His children starting from the time of Creation! The greatest of all is the sending of His Son to save us and His Spirit to guide, equip and direct us.
Today’s reading portion tells us of the disaster facing the nation— the plague of locusts mentioned in the first chapter goes into the second chapter, a reminder of God’s judgment if they don’t repent. In Deuteronomy 28 God had said if His children walk away from His words He would send the plagues. How can we understand if a disaster or plague is from God? The checkpoints are: has God foretold it? Is it mentioned in the Word of God? Is it directed against His people? A natural scene may change to the supernatural when God wants to convey a message to His people. Many a time, because of HIS mercy He sends warnings. In Luke 13 what Jesus spoke about the tower of Siloam and the death of some people, gives us more clarity on the same. Let each disaster remind us about the judgement. Therefore just repent and return to Him!
One thing is clear from the reading portion, our Father does not abandon us in a desperate condition; instead He directs us to what we have to do. Let us look at the key verse into what He is telling us:
1) Yet Even now: Any time, all the time— He is willing to accept us, provided we repent. So dear one, it’s not too late, let us acknowledge and return to Him. ( 2 Cor. 6:2)
2) Return to me with all your heart: How many times have “decided” to return, yet we failed! He tells us today, to come back to Him whole heartedly. (Lam. 5:21)
3) With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning: The three actions accompanied by true repentance help us to conquer our flesh- the most frightening enemy to deal with. (Col. 3:5)
4) Rend your hearts and not your garments: It’s not about physical, emotional or any kind of external expressions, it’s all about our heart. (Matt.15:19, 1 John 3:21). Genuine repentance should come from within.
The essence of repentance is that we ‘change our minds.’ If we do so, God assures His people that never again will He act in this way and then we will know Him.
The Day of the LORD is a metaphor used in several prophetic books like Joel and Obadiah and refers to God’s visitation of His people. Many think of themselves as righteous and live however they like but if one does not live in obedience and trust to God, he will have to face God’s judgment. God has no favorites- everyone has to stand before the Judgement and no one will escape. Romans 14: 10-12 says: “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ………So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Yet today as a Father, He calls us in love to return in repentance and seek Him wholeheartedly!
Listen: 'Reflect on God's Love letter for you'