What the Lord Wants

Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 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 2:12-13

It seems like I keep writing about the same things as we go through the “minor” prophets, but the prophets keep saying the same things, so that is what I will write about.  The prophets, though varied in personality, had the same message from the Lord: repent and turn to the Lord or face further judgment.  In some of the books of the prophets, the people were already in the midst of judgment for their rejecting God.  Whatever their situation, the children of Israel needed desperately to turn back to the Lord.  That is the same situation that many people today find themselves in.

These verses give us some important pointers for returning to the Lord.  First, the Lord wants our whole heart.  “Turn ye even to me with all your heart…”  He doesn’t want halfhearted obedience or devotion.  Revelation 3:16, in describing the church of the Laodiceans, tells us “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”  He wants our whole heart.

Second, He wants a true sorrow for sins: “…and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.”  We should never take a flippant attitude toward sin.  God hates sin, it grieves Him and it sent His Son to the cross.  We should adopt the same attitude toward sin that God has.

Third, He wants our hearts, not just our outward motions.  “And rend your heart, and not your garments…”  He wants our hearts far more than our outward religious traditions and habits.  Our repentance must come from the heart.

Last, He wants to remind of His nature and of the fact that, if we will turn to Him as He has instructed, He will forgive us and have mercy on us.  “…for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness…”  He is a gracious and merciful God Who wants to forgive us and have fellowship with us if we will obey Him.  I am always thankful for these reminders!

4 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks Ben,

    Sometimes we need to hear the same things over and over again before we pay attention!

    Steps laid out as easy as 1,2,3 … do I always remember? Do I always follow? … nope. But still, He patiently waits and loves me back to Himself.


    P.S. Your post reminds me of one of the songs that led me back to Him back in my rebellious days. .. Kathy Troccoli – Stubborn love


    • That is a good song. The message in it is perfect- we keep stumbling, and the Lord keeps loving us and drawing us back to Himself. I know that I need to be quicker to obey, as I’m sure we all do, but I am thankful that He continues to draw us back.


  2. Love Ann’s grace prints above! 🙂

    And Ben, I often find myself writing about the same thing over and over too. I love Ann’s perspective on that! And it reminds me of her recent post, “Practice What You Read. http://tonirand.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/true-religion-james-122-27/

    Thank you and God bless you as you continue to study and teach His word!


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