Turning Back

Preparation Week, Day 1



Begin with 2 minutes of Silence


Scripture : Joel 2:12-17

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
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.
Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— Grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.
Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; Bring together the elders, Gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

Devotional: Turning Back

By Kelly Fonteijn


In the book of Joel, the prophet describes a terrifying plague of locusts that destroy every food source, leaving God’s people starving to death. Joel’s message is urgent: “Repent! Mourn! Fast! Turn to God and – who knows? – we may be spared.” All the people, of all ages and walks of life, must participate.


Mourning rituals in Joel’s day were intended to make excruciatingly public the grief a people felt in their hearts. Tearing clothes, wailing, and putting on sackcloth and ashes all showed everyone the brokenness and devastation a person felt inside. However, it’s also easy for people to put on a good “show” without really mourning our brokenness or authentically turning to God. That was what the Pharisees did!

God definitely calls us to internal heart change, not just external behavior change.

God definitely calls us to internal heart change, not just external behavior change. God does not desire repentance because he wants to see us squirm or feel bad about ourselves. God is GOOD – gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. Repentance brings us back to a right and close relationship with God. Repentance makes us humble and grateful, aware of our reliance on God’s good gifts and grace in all parts of our lives.

Questions to Consider:

Think back on a moment in your life when your heart was actually “torn” with repentance. What happened as a result? Can you identify places where you’ve wandered away from God? Spend some time in an attitude of repentance, turning back to Him.

Prayer

Father, I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart. I have not loved my neighbor as myself. Please forgive me, cleanse me of all unrighteousness, and restore a right relationship with you.

End with two minutes of silence

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