THURSDAY, AUGUST 30, 2018
TOPIC: Heart, Not Garment
Bible Reading: JOEL 2:12-17
“And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil” (Joel 2:13).
Professional mourning is one dying practice of the Mediterranean and near Eastern culture. Professional mourners are paid to weep at funerals – even for people who they never met or knew. It is taken as an art or occupation. This form of “art” may be normal in some cultures or art theatres, not in the economy of God.
When the Lord, through Prophet Joel, told Israel to rend their heart and not their garments, it was an allusion to the idea of professional or perfunctory mourning. Israel had a terrible moral and spiritual decline that attracted God’s judgment. Prophet Joel sounded the alarm and vividly outlined the impending dreadful calamity that dangled over their head. But he also showed them the only way to stem the evil tide. Wholehearted repentance with genuine fasting and prayer would do, not an outward religious show and activities.
God’s demand of righteousness and His impending judgment should challenge us to adopt Joel’s recommendation to rend our hearts, not our garments. We must turn to the Lord with a broken spirit. The outward expression of fasting and prayer without an inward brokenness will not do.
Today, there is so much of fasting and prayer (for material blessings) and rending of garments (pretences and showmanship). Yet, there is so much impunity. For God to save us from our predicament and coming judgment, a broken and contrite heart is necessary. Our prayers must be focused on God’s glory and honour. If our religious commitment cannot produce these, we are in danger.
Thought for the day: Hardened heart can only produce barren result.
Bible Reading in one Year: EZEKIEL 13-15