Over the last two weeks, I have been studying about fasting; however, most of my studying has led me to read verses where God has told the Israelites that fasting wasn't what He wanted. He told the Israelites that He wanted a change of heart and for them to truly love their neighbors. I have found myself with more questions than answers when it comes to fasting, which is good because it makes me seek after God's heart all the more. In my questions, I do believe that I understand at least a part of what God is saying to us today. If we are to fast, God wants our hearts to be seeking after Him and not us just going through the motions. Today, I want to look at a scripture where the Israelites were being warned of "the day of the Lord," and how they were being called to repentance. Please look up Joel 2:12-17.
This passage really gives us some incredible word pictures with phrases like, "Rend your hearts and not your garments," in verse 13. In verse 12 God tells them to come to Him with fasting, weeping, and mourning. When the Israelites did those things, it was a very noticeable act because it often included tearing their clothes and pouring ashes on their heads. In this section of scripture, God is telling them that He wants them to "rend" their hearts. He wants their attitude to be one of brokenness and repentance. He wanted them to really turn to Him with hearts that were seeking Him and changing what they were doing.
I think of the fact that God asked them to rend their hearts and how He wants us to do the same. Sometimes, He needs us to be broken so that we realize that we need Him. Last week on her blog, Beth Moore asked people to share when God became real to them. It was amazing to read through the comments because so many people were at a place of brokenness when they met God. God is not asking us to come to a place where we are unhealthy in our thoughts because we are to the point of devastation; He wants our hearts broken in the sense that we realize that there is so much more to life and we are not living it out the way He wants us to.
Will you rend your heart before God?