Scripture: Joel 2:
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.
Observation: No matter what it looks like on the outside, God knows what’s happening in your heart and soul and its there that He desires to touch you.
Application: It was a custom in the Jewish culture to tear one’s clothing to show remorse, sorrow, disgust or pain. Jacob tore his clothing when he thought that Joseph was dead, David tore his garments when Saul died, and there are other examples in the scriptures as well. It was an outward symbolic gesture of a great pain inside. Although often genuine, the outward action of mourning could often be faked, and in fact we know from the scripture that sometimes mourners were hired and paid to perform these shallow acts.
Sometimes we show pain on the outside when it doesn’t really match what’s going on inside. In the modern Christian culture we may not rip up our clothing very often but most of us show our pain with our tears. As I think about it, I can remember many examples of people who showed a lot of remorse on the outside but who probably felt very different inside. Although most of the time I think we are genuine in the expressions of our feelings, still like the tearing of clothing, outward displays of emotion can be manufactured for a purpose.
God is not interested in what we want the world to think about us, He is concerned with what we really feel. God is never fooled by the costumes that we wear. It is your heart that must be broken as you come before the Lord. True repentance and surrender can not be proven by a tearful testimonial, but must be lived out from a daily obedience and a true desire to allow God to lead.
It doesn’t matter what the local congregation thinks, and its not important what the pastor thinks, the opinions of the people are easily swayed, but God knows what we really are, and how we really feel. Let us then come to Him in true repentance and in Spirit and truth, that we may receive His mercy and compassion which are given eagerly when we seek Him with our whole hearts.
Prayer: God who knows me,
Please make me genuine and real in my search for you. Let me come before you as a broken vessel who is in need of your mending. Grant me the ability to feel true compassion with my whole heart and make me always to be true in my expressions of the love you have placed within.
Surrender: I give up my torn clothing.