The word of God is calling us to come out of our religious rhetoric and placating piety to convey a message to the body of Christ as well as the world that it’s the inside that counts. Enough of just doing “just to do.” Enough of putting on. Enough of walking around, looking good on the outside and torn up on the inside. It’s time to get in proper order, rend our heart and not our garments, and turn unto the Lord our God.
The people of Judah had become prosperous and complacent. They were taking God for granted. They had turned to self-centeredness, idolatry, and sin. In the beginning of the book, Joel has a message from God for the people of Judah. “Tell your children of your history. Tell them how God has been faithful. Tell them how God has never left you nor forsaken you. Tell them how God has had grace and mercy upon you.” Joel declares that the Lord says turn to me now, while there is still time. Give me your hearts. He didn’t ask for our money, he didn’t ask for our marriages, he didn’t ask for our children, he didn’t ask for the car, the house, or anything else. God said give me your heart. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Isn’t it interesting that God asks for the heart before he asks for the fasting, weeping, and mourning? God doesn’t want our lip service; he doesn’t want our Oscar- winning, Emmy- qualifying, rhetorical religiosity or pretentious pomp and circumstance. God is not interested in the people’s choice. God said give me your hearts. It’s the inside that counts.
When God has your heart, there’s got to be a change.
When God has your heart, there should be a difference.
When God has your heart, there is no second guessing, there is no hesitation.
If God says Go– I’m gone. God says Do– it’s done. When we examine ourselves, we need to look through the person in the mirror to the heart of the person in the mirror.
Just ask Noah – it didn’t look like rain, didn’t smell like rain, rain was not in the forecast, but God said build the ark and it was built.
Just ask Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – God said thou shalt have no other Gods before thee; King Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to bow to him, but they didn’t.
Just ask Job – he lost all that he had, afflicted in his body, dealing with his friends, dealing with his wife, dealing with life, but he kept on serving God; he kept on believing in God,
Job didn’t just serve him with lip service, but Job served him with everything he had – on the inside because everything on the outside was gone.
Moses had a change of heart when he started serving God and stopped making excuses.
Gideon had a change of heart when he stopped hiding on the floor of the winepress thinking he was not good enough.
Jacob had a change of heart when he wrestled with God – I won’t let you go until you bless me.
Rahab had a change of heart when she hid the spies.
Joseph had a change of heart when he could have deprived his brothers while there was a famine in Egypt, but he helped them.
Isaiah had a change of heart – hear I am Lord, send me.
Peter had a change of heart – at first he denied Jesus, but in the end he deified Him.
The prodigal son changed his heart and came home.
The Samaritan woman at the well changed her heart and drank of the living water.
We need to examine ourselves, beginning with the heart.