“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. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, “Spare your people, O LORD, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?'”
When I read this passage from Joel 2:12-17, I notice these words, “return,” “weeping,” “mourning,” “rend your heart,” “fast,” and “solemn.” From the context, God is punishing His people (Judah) for turning away from Him. Now He is begging them to repent. Joel says God is, “is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”
This passage reveals the heart of God. God is willing, not He longs to forgive. His desire is to forgive His people and all people.
- “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. ” (2 Peter 3:9)
- “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
Thank you, God, for taking the initiative for my deliverance from wrath. Thank You for your Grace. In Jesus name.