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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
In the remaining portion of Joel chapter 2, which we read today, we find a call and a promise. First Yahweh gives a call to His people to fully repent. As we read of King Asa in 1 Kings, may our hearts be "perfect" towards Yahweh (loving and serving Him wholeheartedly). And where we have fallen short of this, we must repent.
Joel 2:12-13 "Therefore also now, saith Yahweh, 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 Yahweh your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness..."The word "repent" doesn't just mean to be sorry for our past sins and to ask God to forgive us and cleanse us from them in Christ's precious, atoning Blood. The word "repent" also means to turn away from our former evils and live a transformed life.
When we heed the call to repent we may then be assured of the powerful Latter Rain promise, found towards the end of this chapter. There is promised blessing, even removing the former judgments against us:
Joel 2:23-25 "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in Yahweh your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain... And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you."When Yahshua was here, He called mankind to repentance. In fact, the injunction to repent is one of the 49 Commands of Christ - in fact, its the first of the 49 Commands.
Matthew 4:17 "From that time Yahshua began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."The call to repent involves turning away from all idolatry. Idolatry doesn't only involve the literal worship of idols. If we love and value anything more highly than God - it is idolatry. And if we fear anything (or anyone) other than God - it is idolatry - for we worship what we fear (whether we're aware of it or not).
As the prophet Ezekiel explained, repentance involves turning back from our past idolatry, coming back home to God, and being fully restored.
Oftentimes we may mistake regret for repentance, this was certainly the case with Esau. But regret is not repentance, as is made clear by comparing David and Esau.
As we compare David with Esau we find several striking similarities. Both were descended from Abraham, who was the "father of the faithful". Both David and Esau were "men of the field." Both David and Esau satisfied a physical desire in a wicked way, despising the Commandment of Yahweh, in so doing. In David's case, he had an affair with Bathsheba and then killed her husband to cover it up. In Esau's case he sold his Heaven-ordained birthright for a bowl of lentils.
In their ungodly choice, both men exchanged spiritual treasures for temporal pleasures. From this, both men suffered consequences that affected future generations. And both men wept over their sins.
But there the parallel stops. For while David fully repented, Esau was merely regretful. Thus, the blessing of God left Esau, while the blessing returned to David.
Esau wept tears of regret over the loss of blessings, but David wept tears of repentance over the damage to his relationship with God. This is the essence of true repentance.
The difference between repentance and regret also involves differing level of understanding of our own need for Yahweh and for the magnitude of our sin, in light of Calvary.
Many times we hang on to "little things" that are actually harmful to our relationship with God, yet we don't see them in their full destructiveness. We minimize these things by comparing them to the sins we perceive in others saying, "this is not so bad. It's really not that big of a deal."
A speaker, while explaining the importance of "little things" to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"
the audience called out answers ranging from 20g to 500g.
The speaker patiently entertained all the best guesses anyone cared to make. He had their full attention. Then he made a statement that no one would forget.
He said, "The absolute weight of this glass of water doesn't matter. What matters is the length of time I try to hold it."
"If I hold it for a minute, I won't feel troubled at all by its weight. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. But if I should try to hold it for a day, you would have to call an ambulance. In each case, the weight is the same, but the longer I hold it, the heavier and more destructive it becomes."
That sounds a whole lot like the effects of cherish little sins! We hang on to them, justifying them and finding reasons to continue keeping them in our souls. Yet God continues calling us to repent - releasing that thing and finding full freedom in Him.You know the amazing thing about God is that He never asks us to give up something that is for our good. If He is calling us to repent in an area and turn away from something we have excused as a "little thing" its because that "little thing" is slowly destroying us.
Yahweh is just waiting to bless us. He has such joy and blessing in store, but in order for us to receive it, we must first fully repent and let go.
What weights are you holding onto today? Let it go and turn every area of your life over to Yahweh. Let Him have your whole heart. For He is waiting to bestow a great blessing upon your life -the blessing of Joel 2, which can only come after we repent and let go:
Joel 2:23-25 "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in Yahweh your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain... And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you."