12 “Now, therefore,” says the LORD,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
14 Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the LORD your God?”
OBSERVATION: God is interested in our hearts. It is possible to feign religious acts without having a change in our heart. It is not the outward signs of repentance and piety that are important, but the inward ones. It is only the condition of the heart that will determine the spiritual reality of our lives. David writes in Psalms – “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalms 51:17 NKJV) It is to the heart that is rent in true repentance that the Lord responds.
The truly repentant heart discovers the true nature of God. The Lord is “…gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and He relents from doing harm.” Judgment is the Lord’s “strange” work. It is the work of a Just God, but His desire is to pour out His Mercy and Grace. The Lord does not take pleasure in judgment, but He delights in meeting the repentant heart with forgiveness and cleansing. If we do not repent we will face judgment. However, God’s call to us is to rend our hearts and receive His Mercy! Oh that our hearts would be always positioned in repentance before Him.
Ultimately the Lord desires to bless His people. Jesus said – “I have come that you might have life, and life more abundantly.” Yet, this is not automatic. It is offered to those who repent and believe the Gospel – the good news of God’s salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is always through the door of repentance that we enter into the blessings of God!
Lord, this morning I rend my heart before You. I know that within my old nature there is no good thing. The only “good thing” in me is Your life and Your righteousness that is freely given to me through faith. May I always position my heart before You in repentance and receive Your Mercy and Grace. Help me to fully place my faith and trust in You today. In Jesus Name!