Return to the Lord

“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.” Joel 2:13

When the people of Israel strayed from the Lord in Old Testament times, they often expressed sorrow and a desire to return to the Lord through outward signs of contrition such as fasting, weeping, or rending (tearing) their garments. But all too often it became easy to go through the motions of showing these outward signs of contrition without really being sorry or contrite.

In the verse above, the prophet Joel warns the people against this because God cares about our real attitudes more than our actions. When he says, “Rend your heart and not your garments” he’s saying if you’re not genuinely sorry for your sin don’t bother with the outward symbolism of contrition, for God looks at the heart.

If you’ve strayed from the Lord and his ways, I encourage you today to truly repent. As Joel points out, if you genuinely return to the Lord and submit to him as your Lord you can count on his love, acceptance, and forgiveness. If you’ve strayed, rend your heart and return to the Lord, taking encouragement from Psalm 103:8-14: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

Have you strayed from the Lord?  Return to him today.

Having begun as a guest speaker in 2005, Dan was appointed Interim Pastor in 2008 and has been serving Maple Root Baptist ever since. As a small group leader and Chaplin for the Connecticut Tigers, Dan has a heart for the lost and the God that saves them.

Dan Kinnaman

Pastor, Maple Root Baptist Church