Yesterday I shared with you how God convicted me through His charge against His people, Israel, in the book of Hosea. God saw that the people had forsaken His law. Because of this, God could say that there was no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. I explained that the “land” was not a geographical area but referred to the nation of Israel — God’s people. When one looks at the condition of the church in many places around the world, he/she would have to agree that God’s people have, once again, intermarried with the culture. The reality is that God can charge us with the same thing He charged Israel with in the days of Hosea.
The consequences that we will face, if we continue to forsake or ignore God’s Word, are devastating. We saw that the most catastrophic result of God’s people forsaking His law was that God would forsake their children. As I was wrestling with the condition of the body of Christ today in my country, I read a verse that deeply convicted me. Each morning I open my Bible app and read the Verse of the Day. Last Wednesday in the midst of this wrestling match with God the verse was,
“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 (NKJV)
Since reading this verse, I have meditated on it and the rest of the book of Joel each day. The prophet went on to write,
So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Joel 2:13 (NKJV)
Joel was predicting that the Day of the Lord will one day come when God will judge the world. Of course, if Joel was warning the people back then that this day of judgement is near, it means it is even closer now. I am reminded of what Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome.
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Romans 13:11 (NKJV)
In both of these verses there is one word that hit me hard. That word was the word NOW! God didn’t say some day or when you have time; He said in both cases His people were to do something NOW. God has impressed on my heart that He demands that His people do something NOW for the sake of the children. We are to turn to Him with all our hearts. When we see the condition of the world and the church today, turning to God with our whole hearts will be accompanied by fasting, weeping and mourning.I must admit that I have had a lot of reactions to the terrible conditions I see in my country, my community, our schools at all grade levels, and our families. I have been sad. I have been angry. I have been discouraged. I have even been passive at times. But have these conditions broken my heart and led me to fast, weep and mourn? The answer is NO.
I thought that I would end this week’s posting of blogs today. However, God has burdened my mind and heart so much about the seriousness of the situation and what He expects from His people I can’t stop with this post. So, I will be posting again tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some questions that I have had to answer about Joel 2:12-13.
- What does it mean to turn to God with my whole heart?
- How do I rend my heart and not just my garments?
- If my whole heart is my entire life, what makes up my life? Does it include my family? my work? my church? my friends? my writing and speaking?
I encourage you to take some time and answer these questions for yourself. Tomorrow I will share about my take on an announcement I always heard flight make just before closing the boarding door. Tune in tomorrow for the announcement!