“Even now,” declares the Lord“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”13 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. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.
The book of Joel begins with God’s punishment towards his people.
In Joel 1, you will find that locusts have devoured the land, nations have invaded it, and everything is dried up.
Joel 2 is the turnaround. The people began to return to God and humble themselves before him and God relents on his punishment and restores the people.
Over and over again the Bible tells a tale similar to this; God’s people seek his face, then turn their back on Him and break all of His rules. Then, calamity strikes and they are back humble before God.
Isn’t that how we are? We know the right things to do yet refuse to do them. Yet, the minute something goes wrong, we are back on our knees begging for God. He comes every time.
But through my rebellion, it leads me to ask. Is Christianity really about grace or is it about rules? Because right now, this book seems like a bunch of “do’s” and “don’ts.”
But what I’m really asking is what does God really want from me? It seems as if He just wants my stuff and to act a certain way.
Consider these verses:
13 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.
1 Chronicles 28:9
As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.
1 Samuel 16:7
…for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
And there are many more verses about how God searches and changes the heart!
God wants our heart but sometimes He uses our things to test our heart, help others out, or for other reasons we cannot describe.
Ultimately, God wants our heart which determines our actions.
Consider one more verse. This is in 2 Samuel 7 where King David decides he wants to put the Ark of God (where God dwelled with the people at the time) in a house. Look at God’s response.
5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling.7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’
When I first read this verse, this was a big deal to me. God gave David all of this success and prosperity and never once asked to be put in a house instead of a tent! This was David’s idea.
Friend, God is not after your stuff, He is after YOU! But sometimes he does use, take away, or add to what you have as He sees fit.
Here is another article on this topic: www.christianpost.com