Two of the most beautiful words in the Bible are: “Even now.” The prophet Joel (2:12) uses this phrase when addressing the Old Testament Israelites. He’s starts describing the impending judgement coming to all mankind. You know the drill: The earth shakes. The sun and moon darken. The stars dim. It is a great and terrible day and who can endure it? It is “The day of The Lord.” The End of the whole sha-bang.
And what is God’s personal message to mankind at that moment? It’s still not too late! Return to me!
He will take you up until the last possible nanosecond! Even as the chapter closes, even as the last letter is typed: He will take you!
Every day is another chance to return to God. Every hour is another gift. Every second is another opportunity.
Of course this also means that:
Every day is another day closer. Every hour is another hour closer. Every second is another second closer to “The day of The Lord.” After that, there will be no more calling and pleading to return. After that, it will be over and done. After that, there will not be a “even now.”
When people wanted to show grief and repentance in the Old Testament, they “rended” their clothes. In other words, they ripped and tore their shirts. This was the ultimate sign of deep grief in their society. Some rended their clothes but they didn’t really mean it. It was all for show.
We haven’t changed that much over the years, have we? I mean, we don’t shred our clothes when we are sorry, but sometimes we act like we are sorry when we really are not. I’ve told someone I was sorry but in my heart, I wasn’t. It was all for show. Who hasn’t?
The prophet Joel was trying to warn the Israelites of this same situation. The people had grown prosperous and we’re relying less and less on God. When they did repent, it was an outward display meant to impress their friends. It was false. Joel told them to “rend their hearts” instead (2:13).
That line floored me: “Rend your heart, not your garments. Return to The Lord”
God is never fooled by lip service. He cuts straight through the nonsense. He knows whether you mean what you say or not. He knows when you are putting on a show,
If God has convicted you of some matter, tear your heart and offer yourself genuine and true. Don’t waste your time with a song and dance. God’s not interested in charades.
Know that I am speaking to my own heart as much or more than to yours and what I write, I write in love. Let us be more real with God. He’s always real with us.