Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
Tear Your Heart Not Your Clothes
People of God, Rend Your Hearts
In the book of Joel, the prophet calls the people of Judah to repentance. He proclaims, in Joel 2:12-13,
"...return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.
God calls his people to return to him. But he wants their whole hearts. He doesn’t just want external expressions of penitence. He expects the internal realities. Don’t just tear your clothes, he says, a typical expression of contrition in that day. He says, “rend your hearts.” In other words, be torn up inside. Fast, weep, and mourn, but do it for real. Enough of the fake stuff, the Lord says.
Lord of Creation, Rend Our Hearts
But such repentance also comes from our God. In the book of Isaiah, that prophet to Judah calls out to the Lord, asking Him to do some tearing himself. He writes, in chapter 64:1-4,
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil—to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.
Isaiah asks the Lord to tear through the heavens like a curtain, coming down amidst his people in power. He envisions the nations quaking like the mountains in the presence of the Lord. But they would only shake if Judah did first. Isaiah’s prayer continues by bemoaning the nation’s sin. It is here we find the famous “filthy rags” statement.
Fast, weep, and mourn, but do it for real.
This is the state of the people of God -- filthy menstrual rags. Their “deeds are like a polluted garment.” The prophet asks God to rend the heavens and knock Judah to her knees. He wants the ungodly people to rend their hearts; then all creation would notice.
Revival Through True Repentance
Church of God, this must also be our prayer. We are in desperate need of revival in the west today. True revival generally manifests itself in much repentance toward him. There is much external, shallow religion with very little substance. Our impact on the world around us is negligible. Its impact on us, one could argue, is greater. We must rend our hearts. That will only come when the Lord rends the heavens. Let us pray toward that end.