Take a moment to pause, be still, and prepare your heart and mind to receive God’s word.
A Call to Repentance
12 That is why the Lord says,
“Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
13 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.
Joel 2:12-13 NLT
In the verses leading up to our passage today, the prophet Joel describes a plague hitting the land, devastating crops and the harvest. Following this plague, Joel tells of a day when God’s judgment covers the land. It is in this context that he writes for Israel to return to God.
What the prophet describes is intense. It’s no minor snow day – this is something that would devastate an entire nation! And yet, Joel doesn’t drive the Israelites back to God through fear. Instead, he draws them to God by highlighting his character: merciful, compassionate, slow to anger, and filled with unfailing love.
Take a moment to consider the phrase “turn back to God.” Is there any part of you that feels like you’ve turned from him? Examine your life. Is there an area that you have withheld from him?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any sin in your life. Then praise God for his character described in this passage.
What are some things we do that are sinful? Discuss this as a family. Then, read over verse 13 together. Go around the table and share which aspect of God from this verse stands out to you and why. What does it mean?