Who would have thought? Inspiration from a small, Old Testament book, that goes by the name of the prophet, Joel.
I am reading through the Bible in one year. Currently I am well over halfway done, but still in the Old Testament. I will admit that there are some Old Testament books that I get to and honestly think, “What can I possibly get out of what this book has to say? I mean, it’s so…well…old.”
And today I find myself landing in a short, three-chapter, book by a prophet named Joel. First thought, “Here we go again.” Not very encouraging coming from the “pastor.”
But if there’s something in a small book like Joel that can benefit us today, God can certainly show us where. So I prayed before I began to read, “God, please show me what you want me to see in this book. Whatever it is, let me see it clearly.” And wouldn’t you know it, clear as day, Joel 2:12, 13 popped off the page and smacked me in the face.
That is why the Lord says, ‘Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 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, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.
There it was.
Popping off the page.
God wants more than my outward show.
You see, we all can be good at putting on a show for everyone. We are fantastic at convincing people we are one way, when on the inside we are another. We can show up at church, but internally not allow it to impact us in any way.
God is not interested in the outward show (tearing our clothes in grief). When the Bible says that, we would need to hear, “Don’t come to Me (God) just by looking like it on the outside. Don’t show up at church and pretend to be coming to Me.”
God is interested in the internal happenings (tear your heart). What we need to hear is, “God wants more than the outward show of religion. God isn’t interested in your record for most Sundays attended in a row. God is interested in whether or not your heart is fully, completely, 100%, turned, focused and aimed toward Him. Am I fully surrendered to the God of the universe?
I can be the master of this. Putting on my show for everyone to see. Making it appear that everything between God and I is okay, when internally, God and I are experiencing tension. Tension over whether or not He can have all of me.
Guess Joel is urging me to continually lay down the stuff I want in life and to turn my heart completely to God. Time to give up the tension and allow God to have His way.
Have you ever experienced that tension?
Am I way off?