Joel 2:12-17 “Tear Up Your Hearts”

Posted: May 19, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Joel, Sermons

Joel 2:12-17 “Tear Up Your Hearts”

Joel 2.12t17 tear your hearts up

Joel 2:12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
Joel 2:13 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 2:14 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?
Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly;
Joel 2:16 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.
Joel 2:17 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?’ ”

Joel 2:12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
Joel 2:13 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.

–          We left off looking at Joel 2:1-11 and seeing that Joel 2.11 reveals Yahweh Himself to be the General of the invading army. As we pick up here in Joel 2:12-17, we see that the conquering general does not invade to destroy, but rather to call His people to repentance.

–          There is a lesson here not to be lost. God must invade our lives to get our attention. C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

–          “even now” – there is still time, it is not too late. It is never too late for us to turn to God in repentance so long as we have breath. The thief on the cross repented. Jesus gives us a parable of a master who hires servants throughout the day and pays them all the same when it is over. It is not too late for you this morning if you have never repented.

  • God is here to invade and destroy his enemies, but He is graciously granting time for people to repent.

–          “return to me” – the idea of “return” signifies that they are away from the Lord. They need to come back to Him.

–          “with all your heart…fasting…weeping…mourning” – God doesn’t want a mere show of contrition, but the real deal. The fasting, weeping, and mourning all proceed from their whole heart, or ought to. Just in case these folks think they can offer up the outward, devoid of inward repentance, God asks of them the following:

–          “rend your hearts and not your garments”- first time Scripture calls for a “tearing” of the heart. God had earlier commanded His people to circumcision (Dt. 10:16), whereby the failed miserably and incurred the curses of the covenant. As part of God’s work of restoration, God promises to do the heart circumcision in Dt. 30:6. The implication is that we can’t.

  • Jeremiah says that God will write His law in our hearts (Jer. 31), implication is that apart from an inward work of grace, we can’t live in a pleasing manner.
  • Acts 11:18 says that God “granted” repentance.
  • There is this divine mystery whereby God commands of us that which we are unable to keep. Why then does He command it of us? Does it presume our ability? NO. Rather, God is showing us our inability…it is only against that backdrop can we rightly appreciate what Jesus does FOR US. Yes Jesus did something FOR US, ON OUR BEHALF.
  • Jesus didn’t come merely to be an example, though that He is…He didn’t come to simply reaffirm the Law so that we might be inspired to follow it harder, though He kept it perfectly…He didn’t come just to show what love is, though that He is and did…He came to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. This is the Gospel!!!
  • The only way for us to know our unworthiness is to know God’s character and what He demands. The bar is set high, too high, because God can’t forsake who He is.
  • We are called to repent, to tear up our hearts, to return to Him with all our hearts. We can’t, but God gives grace. Seek His grace. Jesus had nothing to repent of, but He was baptized with John’s baptism of repentance to come alongside those who need repentance, to embody repentance, to assume repentance and therefore grant it as our high priest. The scriptures say that God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). We must humble ourselves, not seek to pretend repentance outwardly, but come before Him with broken hearts. David assures us of the following:
  • “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17, ESV)

God says through Isaiah:

  • “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15, ESV)
  • ” Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations; I also will choose harsh treatment for them and bring their fears upon them, because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did what was evil in my eyes and chose that in which I did not delight.”” (Isaiah 66:1-4, ESV)

–          The healed heart must first become a broken heart. The found life is first a lost life. The one who wants to gain their life must first be willing to lose it.

–          “To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish” (Ben Franklin)

“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.”

  • The people should have known this. God had revealed Himself as such in the Decalogue, which is filled with a promise of God’s covenant faithfulness. Nothing new or novel…same old message, ever applicable.
  • Moses also interceded as such when the people were sinning in their worship of a calf:
    • Exodus 32:12-14 (ESV)
      12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people.
      13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ”
      14 And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.

Joel 2:14 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?

–          This is a guard against presumption over simply offering up to Him vain worship…the “who knows” is intended to break them of all pride and presumption and throw them on their faces in wholehearted repentance.

–          David over Son. “He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’” (2 Samuel 12:22, ESV)

–          “Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.” (Jonah 3:9-10, ESV)

  • We can be sure, we can never be sure enough of our salvation….but we must never trample His grace with a presumptive disposition towards sin. Our security in Christ is not designed to foster a sinful bent, but far from it. Shall we sin that grace may abound? By no Means!!!
  • Marriage illustration:
    • You know you are married and can grow ever closer, however one ought not presume that you can go out, cheat on your wife, bring back flowers and that she will be sitting there waiting for you. She might not be there, wanting instead to see if you are sincerely sorry.
    • We continue to sin as the people of God…our only assurance is in His grace and mercy…but if we go out intending to sin presumptively as if we have purchased some papal indulgence with a prayer, then we really don’t understand His love and grace. Our “I do” may have been deficient to begin with.
    • The sincere spouse will sin and cause harm, but will also just as surely be broken over it. the insincere spouse is the one who can give a rip what their actions are doing to their wife and family.

Joel 2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly;
Joel 2:16 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.
Joel 2:17 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?’ ”

–          Blow the trumpet” – last time was Joel 2:1 in the context of an invading army, here it is commanded in petition and intercession for God’s favor

–          The details for this assembly is reminiscent of the Pentecost (Lev. 23:21) celebration which would call for a cessation of normal activities and a celebration of God’s harvest. It is here reversed as they mourn the loss of harvest.

–          The whole community is gathered, even babies and betrothed couples. Whereas Joel 1 singled out specific groups for specific reasons, the whole nation is here assembled to corporately repent. Implication is that we are all sinners.

–          Notice that the appeal of the prayer has less to do with us and more to do with God’s glory that is at stake in us.

–          The Lord taught us to pray, “Hallowed by Your name” (Mt. 6:9).

  • It is a declaration and a petition
    • Declaring that God is Holy
    • Petition that His name would be “hallowed” in our own lives.

What are we left with this morning? Christ, to seek Him. To live a life of continual brokenness and confession. To renew our vows. To seek Him with our whole heart. To tremble before Him as an unworthy sinner, bow the knee, then to stand forgiven and emboldened by grace.

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Comments
  1. nawhtoolo says:

    The scripture give me encourage and i remember when i was in my back home i alway tried fasted and mouned and prayed secretly to God and i got the answered . just now i see santan attack me when ever i ‘m going to fast and pray i can’t do like before but God alway answered my pray,
    pray for me either to get more knowlege in his kingdom and thank for your scripture that give me more knowlege and wisdom and that coming new year we have to keep our mind and heart pure and forgiveness and repentence as your scripture.

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