#DailyDevotion The Reason To Repent Is In God’s Name
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
Yet even now—The Lord gives us room for repentance. Though they had rejected the Lord so many times, rebelled against him, worshipped other gods and lived as if the Lord had never given them any commandments, and they all thought they were good people, the Lord was ready to receive them back ‘if’ they returned to him. The Lord was sending a plague of locusts to punish the people to call them back to him.
What sort of repentance was the Lord looking for? He was looking for them to return to him all their heart. He wanted them to trust in only him for all good things. He wanted their love and devotion for all he had done for them and for their fathers. Returning to the Lord after a period of rejecting him was to be done with fasting, weeping and mourning. He wanted them to broken spirits and contrite hearts over their sins. But he wasn’t looking for an outward show as he says “rend your hearts and not your garments.” Outward displays of good works mean nothing if the hearts isn’t sincere and trusting in the Lord.
Then he gives a promise; he reminds them of his name. Exo 34:6-7 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, (7) keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” This is the very nature of our God. His name gives them hope. He also holds out the promise that the Lord will bless them with good things if they repent.
Now the Lord Jesus Christ who spoke through the prophet Joel also calls us to this same sort of repentance. He calls us to repent of our sins in sincerity and truth. He also wants us to rend our hearts and not our garments. He gives us his name, Jesus (The Lord saves) to know there is forgiveness and reconciliation with him. He offers us also a promise, eternal life, the resurrection from the dead and a new heavens and new earth where righteousness reigns. Return today to the Lord with repentance and faith and he will receive you.
Heavenly Father, even as you called your people to repentance through the prophet Joel you have called us to repentance through your son Jesus. Grant us repentant hearts that we may be received into your eternal kingdom with joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.