“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.
 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the LORD your God?
 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
 gather the people.
Consecrate the congregation;
assemble the elders;
gather the children,
even nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her chamber.
 Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep
and say, “Spare your people, O LORD,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”
(Joel 2:12-17 ESV)
Today his call is simple. RETURN TO ME. He gives people a reason why, he tells them how, and then gives the speakers of his word the instructions.
WHY should we return to the Lord?
For the Lord your God is
- Gracious: kind, courteous, when it is not deserved
- Merciful: full of compassion, caring, helping
- Slow to Anger: not quickly moving to anger
- Abounding in steadfast Love: full of strong affection and concern that is constant
- Relents over disaster.: forgiving of misfortune.
How should we return to the Lord?
- Return with all your heart: not just part of ourselves but all of us
- with fasting: refrain from eating in your sorrow, concentrate on God
- with weeping: show your sadness and sorrow
- with mourning: BE sad about the wrongs you do
- with offerings of sacrifice: Change, show that you are changing
- with the knowledge God can turn and relent: God can turn from the path he has set out, he can forgive
What are the church leaders to do?
- Blow the trumpet; Make noise, get the attention of the people!!
- Consecrate a fast: set aside a time of sorrow, a time to not eat
- Gather the people: join the people in a group
- Consecrate the assembly: set aside the people who come, call them holy
- Gather the elders, children, infants, bridegroom and bride: don't forget anyone
- Let the ministers of the Lord weep: the church leaders need to show their sorrow.
- Let the ministers of the Lord speak to the Lord: make it a public event to call out to the Lord to relent of his coming punishment.
What are the church leaders to say?
- Spare your people
- Make not your heritage a reproach
- Do not let people outside the church say "Where is their God?"
I read this and I am full.
Full on how God calls his people back.
Giving us instructions... like a child being taught how to show they are sorry.
God leaves no one out.
He makes it clear what is expected.
Isn't that a good thing?
God takes the guess work out of it. He makes it clear that this call is for all his people, not just the leaders, not just the children or the married folks. It's for EVERYONE. Everyone has a role to play in the community of believers. We are all to come and show our sorrow over our sin.
We are not only to show our sorrow but we are the change what we are doing. We show this in a time of fasting, but that will act itself out in what we do. God wants us to change. He want us to be in full communion with him.
COME... let us repent! Come.. Let us live as God desires of us. :)
For he is gracious and merciful. Full of compassion. Slow to anger.
He is full up in his steady, constant love for us.
He has given us his heart. :)