~Joel 2:13 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.
Nuggets of Truth
This is a popular verse to show God’s patience with mankind. Yes, He surely is patient for if He weren’t, I would surely be dead today. But there is so much more to this verse, my friends. The first part of the verse is the actual meat of this verse. God instructs us to do something and then He will do something in return.
The Jews would tear their clothing as a sign of great grieving, distress and sorrow. I read Joel 2:13 and I see that God wants us to go to this drastic measure with our hearts. How convicting is this? How truly sorrowful are we when we sin? Do we grieve with intensity over hurting our Heavenly Father? Are we distressed at what we have done? Do we have honest sorrow in our hearts for our wickedness? Yes, the born-again believer is blood bought and is saved from eternal damnation because of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross. But when we sin after salvation, our conviction should be intense! This is what I believe the Lord is trying to tell us today.
As we glean from this verse in Joel today, let’s present our sins to God in the same manner. Let’s look at sin the way our Heavenly Father looks at it – vile and despicable.
~Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Isaiah brought this out. Our sinfulness is so unclean that even the “good” things we do are looked upon as filthy rags in God’s eyes. Strong’s defines the Hebrew word for “filthy” in this verse as:
From an unused root meaning to set a period (compare H5710 and H5749); the menstrual flux (as periodical); by implication (in plural) soiling: – filthy.
When a filthy rag is compared to this definition, it puts our sin into perspective and gives us a glimpse of God’s view of it.
Refining the Gold
As of today, let’s look at our sinfulness in a new light. When we see sin as God sees sin, it helps us to glean from Joel’s words. We must figuratively rend our hearts (tear our hearts) and be truly sorrowful for sinning against God. When we prepare our hearts in this manner, we become truly repentant and are able to draw nigh to our God! It is then that we see that He is:
…gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.