Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. – Joel 2:12-13
The LORD spoke to the people of Judah during the time of great famine, pestilence, and sword that were the end results of their spiritual adultery and idolatry. They had turned from God to worship false gods made of wood, metal, and stone. Israel and Judah were both eventually exiled into foreign captivity because of this issue. However, God always sent a message of hope to his people through the prophets. Joel was no exception. In his short message, Joel tells the people that God desires for them to turn back to him and be his people once more. He advised them not to tear their clothes in remorse, but they should tear their hearts instead. They should show true, genuine remorse for their abandonment of their God and humble themselves before him.
Again, the LORD speaks to me through his written word with a word of caution. He tells me to look at my inner condition. We’ve got to remember that God looks on our heart not our outward appearance. Thus, we can understand why he’d say tear your hearts not your clothes. I, of all people, need to tear my heart and come before my God with weeping, fasting, and mourning because I’d allowed a smidgen of hardness to nest in my heart. I’ve learned from life and from sitting under the tutelage of wise men of God that any root that is allowed to anchor itself in one’s soul can sprout into a full-fledged plant of destruction. They taught that this root must be torn out from the very bottom and not allowed to continue to grow. Thus, I’m taking an inventory of my heart and tearing it before the LORD. The LORD wants us, in other words, to humble ourselves before him and make him God above all else and to love him above everything!
Father, for two days you’ve called me to my knees and wooed me to humble myself before you and to take a good hard look at the true condition of my heart. On the surface it appeared that all was well with me, but deep inside I found that all was not as it should be. I see things in me, Dad, that frighten me and to think I could allow myself to reach such a state of despair. Please, come and wash me white as snow. You told David that the one sacrifice you won’t refuse is the broken, contrite heart of anyone who seeks you out. Well, here I am! I throw open my heart to you, and I ask you to remove the bitterness in my heart. Do spiritual surgery upon me and make me white with the blood of the Lamb! Thank you!! I love you!!! In Jesus’ name, Amen.