“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 NKJV
Turn, Fasting, Weeping, Mourning
So rend your hearts and not your garments, and return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in loving devotion
But if from there you will seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
1 Samuel 7:3
Then Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and Ashtoreths among you, prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only. And He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”
You fast with contention and strife to strike viciously with your fist. You cannot fast as you do today and have your voice be heard on high.
“If you will return, O Israel, return to Me,” declares the LORD. “If you will remove your detestable idols from My sight and no longer waver, and if you can swear, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then the nations will be blessed by Him, and in Him, they will glory.”
So I turned my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
But you must return to your God, maintaining love and justice, and always waiting on your God.
Matthew Henry Commentary
2:1-14 The priests were to alarm the people with the near approach of the Divine judgments. It is the work of ministers to warn of the fatal consequences of sin and to reveal the wrath from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The striking description which follows and shows what would attend the devastations of locusts, but may also describe the effects from the ravaging of the land by the Chaldeans. If the alarm of temporal judgments is given to offending nations, how much more should sinners be warned to seek deliverance from the wrath to come! Our business therefore on earth must especially be, to secure an interest in our Lord Jesus Christ; and we should seek to be weaned from objects which will soon be torn from all who now make idols of them. There must be outward expressions of sorrow and shame, fasting, weeping, and mourning; tears for trouble must be turned into tears for the sin that caused it. But rending the garments would be vain, except their hearts were rent by abasement and self-abhorrence; by sorrow for their sins, and separation from them. There is no question but that if we truly repent of our sins, God will forgive them; but whether he will remove affliction is not promised, yet the probability of it should encourage us to repent.
God certainly loves a humble and contrite person. Solomon made it clear that is a time for this and a time for that. Repentance is critical to enter and restores a broken neglected relationship with God or anyone for that matter. God doesn’t force us to turn to Him but He highly encourages us to do so for He truly loves us, His creation. Left to our own ways, we suffer much if we insist on doing things apart from Him, in our own measly strength and finite capacities.
He says (or ‘saith’) ‘turn to Me’.
There are times we need to take military spiritual action and heed these warning by getting serious. We need to have true repentance for our lawless deeds. We each were born into a body corrupt in sinful flesh. We are not all bad but enough; bad in that we each inherited the lethal virus of sin.
If you have never shed a tear, anguished over your sin, and begged God for forgiveness, you are likely in a world of hurt still.
And we are wise to keep close and facing directly God’s, as much as humanly possible, for that is smart if we can muster up our will to do so. Fear is one reason to turn and stay. Obedience is another. But the best reason is for love’s sake with ALL OF OUR HEARTS as this Scripture puts forth.
God is a person. He wants a relationship. We could do or would have NOTHING without Him yet He still gives us choice to love or not to love.
To love or not to love?
That is the question, Romeo and Juliet.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your great grace and mercy, particularly in giving of Your beloved Son.
Help us to make the most of it and be willing to render a decent response to the Gospel.