“Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
In many cultures, loud weeping, wailing, and the tearing of clothing are accepted ways of lamenting personal grieving or a great national calamity. For the people of Old Testament Israel, related outward actions expressed deep mourning and repentance for turning away from the Lord.
An outward display of repentance can be a powerful thing when it comes from our heart. But without a sincere internal response to God, we may simply be going through the motions, even in our communities of faith.
After a plague of locusts ravaged the land of Judah, God, through the prophet Joel, called the people to honest repentance to avoid His further judgment. “ ‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning’ ” (Joel 2:12).
Then Joel called for a response from deep within: “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity” (v. 13). True repentance comes from the heart.
The Lord longs for us to confess our sins to Him and receive His forgiveness so we can love and serve Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Whatever you need to tell the Lord today, just say it—from the heart.