Been studying the book of Joel this week in preparation for the Sunday School class I teach. Wow! Minor prophet with a major lesson....the joy of repentance! Oh, the lengths God will go to bless His children and to assure them of Whose they are! Whether God sends adverse circumstances our way as result of His judgement or discipline, He offers an amazing invitation...
"Return to me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning. And rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious, and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting in evil." (Joel 2: 12-13)
Our repentance is based on WHO HE IS not on our ability to get our act together or be sorry enough, or, or, for cryin' out loud to do anything! He is GRACIOUS, it's based on His goodness, not ours. He is COMPASSIONATE. This word is derived from the Hebrew word for "womb", a place of nurture and protection for unborn babies. It points to God's loving care and nurture for helpless people. He is SLOW TO ANGER. A Hebrew idiom meaning "long of nostrils". It takes a long time before God's wrath results in actual judgement. How long? Long enough to give His children abundant time to repent. He is ABOUNDING IN LOVINGKINDNESS. Overflowing covenant love that is dependable at all times, under all circumstances. RELENTING IN EVIL. Based on His character and in response to His children's repentance, God can change His mind! Praise His name!
When we need to repent of something, why do we resist? Why do we wait? What are we afraid of? Whatever the answer to those questions are, we have bought what the enemy has been selling for ages. They are lies. I should know. The Enemy and I did business for years and I paid dearly for those lies when I could have been experiencing freedom and restoration at no cost. That's one of the things I love about repentance. It ALWAYS bring restoration...
"Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locusts have eaten...you will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. Then my people will never be put to shame. Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD, your God, and there is no other, and my people will never be put to shame." (Joel 2: 25a - 27)
Restoration has glorious results! We will be SATISFIED. We learn to be satisfied with Him and Him alone. He is all we need. We will PRAISE HIM. We won't be able to help ourselves! He has dealt wondrously with us! We will NEVER BE PUT TO SHAME. Our faith grows. We are confident (the opposite of shame) that God IS who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do!
Don't you just love Him?