Rend Your Hearts

The Book of Joel describes a time when the land of Judah was plagued by many kinds of locusts that devoured everything in their path. Each wave of locusts was worse than the one before and produced a devastation such as had never been seen by the people living at that time. The land was laid waste. God used this to capture the attention of His people and to show them how the physical barrenness of the land was reflecting the spiritual condition of their hearts.

The LORD told the people, ‘rend your heart and not your garments’. ‘Rend’ isn’t particularly a word that is commonly spoken in conversational English, so when I read this verse recently, seeing it made me stop and really think about what this meant.

In the days of Joel, people who mourned would tear their clothes to give an outward symbol of what was happening. Everyone would see the torn clothing and know immediately that something serious had happened. Here, however, God is saying that it is more important to look at the inner heart rather than the outward appearance, to choose to soften our hearts and come to Him from a place of humility and to have a contrite heart that recognises the mess we have got ourselves into.

And the wonderful news is that, when we do this, when we turn our hearts to the LORD our God, He exhibits such grace, such mercy that our sins are washed clean, and our wounds are healed. ‘For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm’ (Joel 2:13b).

Prayer: Thank You, LORD God, that You are gracious and merciful, and because of Your steadfast and abounding love and kindness we can come out of devastation into a place of complete restoration and abundance. Help us to rend our hearts today, not for outward show, but in true repentance, knowing that you will ‘restore the years the locust has eaten’ (Joel 2:25). Amen.


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“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in love; And He relents from doing harm.
Joel 2:12-13, NKJV


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Today's Writer

Morna Gillespie Having done the Modular course at Ellel Grange, Morna went to Ellel Pierrepont for nine months to do NETS and is still there twenty years later! She is part of the leadership team and enjoys admin, teaching and worship. Morna has a passion to help others grow and mature as believers, through the life-changing healing and training offered on both NETS and Explore.

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