Practical Messages for Impractical Times
A Call to Repentance: That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Joel 2:12-13.
Have you ever thought about God’s personality? As a child, I was taught to literally be afraid of God. The emphasis of the church we attended was placed on the many punitive actions against the Israelites in the time of the Old Testament. To me, God was full of wrath and had a doom and gloom personality. However, as I matured, I began to study the Word of God for myself and discovered that I was fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, He allowed His only son Jesus to die for my sins, and if I so choose, I can be the recipient of eternal life.
Now that I understood who God was, I became fully aware of the reason for His actions toward the Israelites. The Chosen people were to reflect God’s loving and caring personality to other nations. God portrayed His intentions by setting them free and supplying all of their needs. In spite of the many blessings, they were swayed by pagan customs and chose to go against their Deliverer and Provider. Through God’s grace and mercy, the opportunity and time to cease disobedience were given, but as a people, they ignored the call for repentance.
In the book of Joel, we find that God had blessed Israel with an overabundance of food, vineyards, and cattle. The Israelites became arrogant as they celebrated their accomplishments as self-made. With the increase in prosperity, the Giver of their wealth was ignored. It appeared that disobedience to God brought a plentiful harvest and a comfortable life. However, God allowed various types of locusts to devour their entire food supply. It was only after this great loss, they were forced to acknowledge their sin against God and repent.
Every relationship has a beginning; time, understanding, compassion, and love are required to nurture and produce ongoing growth and strength. When we include a relationship with God in our lives, we have additional responsibilities: Commitment, Obedience, Praying, and, Studying the Word of God. When we remain humble, God takes on our burdens of life. We no longer have to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6) or how our necessities will be supplied. God’s loving and caring personality will be evident; we will view Him as our Heavenly Father and our great Jehovah Jireh-Provider.
Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for your love. Thank you for being my Heavenly Father and my Provider. Teach me your ways, that I may always acknowledge who you are. Amen
Sonya Johnson Ruiz