“For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it? ‘Yet even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” Joel 2:11b-13
Joel is a prophetic book, full of insight to the tragic things that will occur in the last days due to sin and God’s righteous judgment. Reading Joel brings up images of disaster and chaos, and yet in the midst of it all God still gives out this call to repentance. God continues to extend His mercy even in the final days on earth, although this too will be cut off at a certain point within the final days, God is gracious to provide a second chance even through His judgment. It’s a turning point in the passage. Many people proclaim God is a God of wrath and judgment in the Old Testament and full of love in the New Testament. And although it would seem this way as you read throughout the Old Testament, it’s passages like this one that remind you that God is what he has always been- an immutable God who continues to love us. He’s the same in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.
The book of Joel is just one of many examples of God’s goodness to us sinful beings. All throughout the Old Testament God yearns for His people to turn back to Him, declaring that if they would just repent, He would stop disaster.
Although the passage is not directed at us believers, it’s a beautiful picture of God’s everlasting love to us. Even when we fall short and sin, God still extends His hand of mercy to us, admonishing us to repent, lovingly taking us back. God’s love is unconditional and boundless.
Lord, thank You for Your enduring goodness and love even though I don't deserve it. Help me to be more like Your Son, and to return Your love faithfully. Amen.
Perhaps you have sinned and are in need of forgiveness and mercy. Pray right now for God’s forgiveness and make a concerted effort to turn away from your sin, realizing that the Father still welcomes you back with open arms.