Relentless Call To Repentance
Read Joel Chapter 2
Joel 2:12 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 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. 14 Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
The Lord calls His people to repentance. Those who belong to Him cannot continue to willfully sin. Our loving Father has placed His call for repentance throughout His holy scriptures. This passage is only one of many which demonstrate His undying love for you and me. He simply loves us too much to sit idly by while we continue to dabble unhindered in our sinfulness. He calls and calls and calls for us to return to Him, and only uses His disciplines as a last resort. He would much, much rather that we return to Him voluntarily.
Let’s examine these verses. He knows, whether we know it or not, that our sins are a serious matter. Our disobedience is so appalling that it should cause us to weep and mourn when the Spirit brings conviction into our hearts. All too often, we come to Him halfheartedly, perhaps only confessing and ‘repenting’ because we know we have to do so. That’s not repentance. That’s a “gee, do I have to” response to our sinfulness. When we “return to Him with all our hearts,” our repentance is sincere. We are heartbroken over our turning away from Him. We realize that what we have done not only has hurt us, it has distressed our Lord and Savior – to whom we owe everything, our all.
Our Savior’s love and compassion for us knows no bounds. He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. Can it get any clearer than that? These descriptions of our Lord belie what we have been led to believe at some point in our lives – that He is a cruel task master who is calling us away from something which gives us pleasure and satisfaction. Of course that is not true! Why have we believed it for so long, or even for a short while? Everything He does to us, for us, or with us comes from a heart of compassion, graciousness, and love. He calls us away from same-sex sins because He knows the enormous amount of harm that it will inflict upon us. Nothing He does for His children is to harm us in any way.
He relents from sending calamity! If God brought calamity upon me in the same measure of the sins which I have committed, I would be a pile of broken pieces from the blows from His hand. He most certainly has not brought upon me the calamity which I deserve. I love the following passage from Psalm:
Ps 103:10 He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Does this sound like a God who is always looking for an opportunity to punish us for our transgressions? Certainly not! He refrains from sending calamity upon us because of His love for us. Oh, dear SSA friend, it is time for us to be done with our divided heart. He deserves to receive nothing less than our total devotion to Him, complete obedience to His word. There is nothing in the SSA world which is more valuable than our complete harmonious relationship with Him.
And finally, “Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing.” Yes, He will. That’s not really an “if” – it is a certainty. We have partaken of an innumerable amount of His blessings already. We just haven’t been looking for them or appreciating them. Besides, even if He didn’t shower us with His blessings in this life, the blessing of eternal life would more than compensate for a lack of blessings here in this evil world.
Prayer: I am so convicted, Lord! I have disobeyed far too many times and far too long. Your love for me and my brothers in Christ should overwhelm us and fill us with gratitude! Thank You for Your call for us to repent. You would have every right to abandon us to our foolishness. Yet You did not and will not.