Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments ” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil. Joel 2:12-13
What does it take to wake you up? I’ve never been a “hard” sleeper. I’ve heard the stories of people who have to be dragged out of bed to wake up. Not me. Let me ask another question. What does it take to wake you up out of a spiritual slumber? You know, a spiritual apathy where you’re not on fire for God and you’re not ice cold. You’re somewhere in the middle. The book of Joel just might speak to this.
The message of Joel is fascinating. He begins by saying the nation of Judah had just been ravaged by a phenomenal locust plague. The plague was an effort by God to wake up the people from an apathetic and numbing attitude about God and godly living. They were at their lowest, most vulnerable moment in history, yet God loved them and was hoping for their repentance.
Here’s some church history…October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg. These statements and questions were committed to the idea of salvation can be gained only through faith and God’s grace. His first thesis reads, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.” All of Christian life is repentance. Almost 30 years later, on February 16, 1546, Luther’s last words, written on a piece of scrap paper, echoed the theme of his first thesis: “We are beggars! This is true.”
True repentance will be seen in our actions. Fasting, weeping, and mourning are all evidence of true, genuine repentance. However, these things do not profit the person who hasn’t changed his heart. It took a plague of locusts to wake up a nation.
What does it take to wake you up?