v 13. 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.
Is there a need for repentance?
When God does challenge us to change something in our lives there is a danger that we respond superficially. Putting ashes on your head or tearing part of your clothing were Jewish practices to demonstrate sorrow, repentance, and a readiness to change one’s life. It would have been possible to go through all these outward actions without them affecting the inner, practical reality of a motivational and lifestyle change. The issue was not that the people were just doing the wrong things but that there was something more fundamentally wrong with their relationship with God. Hence his challenge is to ‘Return to the Lord your God.’
Now, I am not suggesting for one moment that the Coronavirus pandemic occurred because we have all got out of step with God, and He therefore punished the world in order to make us return to following Him. But I do feel that He permits such tragedies in life and that these events should rightly give us time to pause and reflect on what it means to walk in God’s ways. Joel reminds us that God is merciful and compassionate, He wants people to walk in fellowship with Him.
Today, reflect on how recent events have touched your life, and how they might have affected your onward journey with God.