Hello! I had the privilege of sharing this story about Joel with the congregation of Flint New Life Church of the Nazarene. The mission of the church is: to introduce individuals to Christ, to equip them to be followers of Christ; and to impact our community with God’s love.
Joel is a prophet in the OT. Joel has a message from God to the people. The message is : if the nation will repent and return to the Lord, God will restore His relationship with her and bless her. The nation referred to is Judah. This message is relevant to us today.
Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. The day of the Lord – A day of greater trouble than yet they felt, troubles which God will heap upon them.
“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.
The rending (or tearing) of the clothes was an expression of extraordinary uncontrollable emotion, chiefly of grief, of terror, or of horror. It is not mentioned as a part of ordinary mourning, but only upon some sudden overpowering grief, whether public or private.
And since it is your custom “to rend your garments” in sorrow, I command you to rend, not your clothes but your hearts – which means our hearts should be broken over our sin.
Return to the Lord your God – God is still their God, even though they had turned and were gone from Him in sin and were alienated from Him. The true, Unchangeable God said if they returned, they would find Him still “their God.”
God is “slow to anger” or “long-suffering,” enduring long the wickedness and rebellion of man, and waits patiently for the conversion and repentance of sinners.
God is ready to receive and forgive returning sinners and not execute the threatened and deserved evil.
God is patiently waiting for all to come to Him – but there will be a time when there is no more waiting. The opportunity will be over. Christ will come again!