Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 14, 2018

“Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; … For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil.”

Today’s devotion comes from Joel 2:1-17.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joel+2&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“11 The LORD utters His voice before His army;
Surely His camp is very great,
For strong is he who carries out His word.
The day of the LORD is indeed great and very awesome,
And who can endure it?
12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
13 And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.
14 Who knows whether He will not turn and relent
And leave a blessing behind Him,
Even a grain offering and a drink offering
For the LORD your God?
15 Blow a trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and the nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom come out of his room
And the bride out of her bridal chamber.
17 Let the priests, the LORD’s ministers,
Weep between the porch and the altar,
And let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD,
And do not make Your inheritance a reproach,
A byword among the nations.
Why should they among the peoples say,
‘Where is their God?’”  Joel 2:11-17.

——————————

Joel 2:1-10 contains some of the scariest descriptions of God’s punishment in Scripture.

“Blow a trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm on My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
For the day of the LORD is coming;
Surely it is near,
2 A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness.
As the dawn is spread over the mountains,
So there is a great and mighty people;
There has never been anything like it,
Nor will there be again after it
To the years of many generations.
3 A fire consumes before them
And behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them
But a desolate wilderness behind them,
And nothing at all escapes them.”  Joel 2:1-3.

But, there is hope!

“12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“Return to Me with all your heart,
And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
13 And rend your heart and not your garments.”
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And relenting of evil.”  Verses 12-13.

At another time, the King of Nineveh heeded a warning by Jonah of God’s punishment and recognized that hope that God may relent, and so the King of Nineveh commanded his people to repent.

“He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles:  Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing.  Do not let them eat or drink water.  But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth;  and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.  Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”

When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them.  And He did not do it.”  Jonah 3:7-10.

Let us not just wag our finger at others thinking that the many warnings of God’s punishment in Scripture are only for others more evil than us.  But rather, let us also heed those warnings;  let us also take hope that God may relent;  and let us also repent.

“Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.  And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate?  I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.  Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”  Luke 13:15.

“But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:7-8.


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