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>From the Heart

October 18, 2016

Read: Joel 2:12-17
Bible in a Year: Isaiah 53-55; 2 Thessalonians 1

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he
is gracious and compassionate.—Joel 2:13

In many cultures, loud weeping, wailing, and the tearing of clothing are
accepted ways of lamenting personal sorrow or a great national calamity.
For the people of Old Testament Israel, similar outward actions expressed
deep mourning and repentance for turning away from the Lord.

An outward demonstration of repentance can be a powerful process when it
comes from our heart. But without a sincere inward response to God, we may
simply be going through the motions, even in our communities of faith.

After a plague of locusts devastated the land of Judah, God, through the
prophet Joel, called the people to sincere repentance to avoid His further
judgment. “ ‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your
heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning’ ” (Joel 2:12).

Then Joel called for a response from deep inside: “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” (v. 13). True repentance comes from the heart.

The Lord longs for us to confess our sins to Him and receive His
forgiveness so we can love and serve Him with all our heart, soul, mind,
and strength.

Whatever you need to tell the Lord today, just say it—from the heart.
—David McCasland

*Lord, please give me a heart of repentance to see myself as You do. Give
me the grace to respond to Your merciful call for change.*

 God wants to hear your heart.

*INSIGHT:* In today’s reading we find remarkable insights on the theme of
repentance. Key phrases punctuate this exhortation. “*Even now*” (Joel
2:12): Despite a pattern of disobedience that has merited the righteous
judgment of God, He extends grace to a repentant heart. “*Return to me with
all your heart*” (v. 12): The repentance God is calling for is not lukewarm
but rather a full commitment of the heart. “*Declare a holy fast*” (vv.
15-17): The act of fasting does not carry a meritorious element but is a
means of self-denial and sets the foundation for turning from selfishness
to God. In the spiritual life of Israel both a national and individual
repentance were keenly related. Dennis Fisher

[image: Our Daily Bread Ministries]

Our mission is to make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable
and accessible to all.

Our vision is to see people of all nations experiencing a personal
relationship with Christ, growing to be more like Him, and serving in a
local body of His family.

To read today's *Our Daily Bread* online visit www.odb.org

Copyright © 2016, Our Daily Bread Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI 49555 USA.
Written permission must be obtained from Our Daily Bread Ministries for any
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Scriptures taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®
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