“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 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. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing. (Joel 2:12–14, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Just a few verses earlier Joel wrote, “Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand— a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.” (Joel 2:1–2, NIV 1984). To the very brink of judgment the Lord is willing to “relent from sending calamity.” He will relent, if we repent (“return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning”). A rending of our hearts will result in a mending of our relationship with the Creator.
Why would He relent? The Apostle Peter tells us, “do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise [‘this coming he promised’], as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8–9, NIV 1984). Because He “is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” Who is like the Lord? No one.
My Advice – Even now, as you are reading this. there is time to repent and come to the Lord our God. He will not turn you away. No one has moved so far away, or sinned so badly, that they are beyond His reach and forgiveness if repentance is sincere. There is no time like the present to “rend your heart,” because any time beyond the present may be beyond the brink.
For “the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:10–14, NIV 1984).