‘”Rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.’…Joel 2:13 (ESV).
God is in the rebuilding business. He wants to heal your heart and mine. So why would He say here “REND YOUR HEARTS…” and nothing else? Well, let’s look at this methodically.
The heart is exceedingly corrupt. The Bible says it, I believe it. Also, we just have to look around us to see how evil the human heart is – hate; hunger; cultural, educational and community collapse …and everything else associated with the Total Depravity of man! Do we really expect God to welcome hearts like that into His Holy Presence?!! No, He won’t!
Men and women in every culture try to cover up their deprave lifestyles and lack of true faith before God by ‘doing things’, which they think will pacify God! This what He means “not your garments”. God not only does not need us to do things for Him, He despises it! He wants and desires total commitment; total love and total obedience.
We have two strikes against us here – corrupt hearts and unacceptable works. There is only one way out of this. Let’s briefly take a look at what Scripture says:
Leviticus 21:10 carries the command from God which says the High Priest of Jerusalem should NOT tear his clothes and keep himself up to mark in appearance. But in Matthew 26:65, the obtuse Caiaphas proceeded to do just precisely the same thing, when he accused Jesus of “blasphemy”.
It is a known fact that some of the Pharisees used to wear pre-torn garments to make it appear they were outraged about something, or even, super-religious. John 19:23-24 carries the account of the Roman soldiers dividing up Jesus’ clothing after they executed Him (to fulfill Scripture).
One thing stood out – His seamless, full length undergarment. This one they left intact. Clothing had special significance in Bible times and Jesus’ inner garment had no pretear and in fact was the tunic of a High Priest! (He is our High Priest and ever lives to make intercession for us.)
Again, this fact alone show Christ to be the embodiment AND the fulfillment of the Law….while hypocrites like us, before our conversion keep violating it. Joel 2 is a directive from Holy God to”kawrah” or tear up your own heart or come broken hearted with your sin or shortcoming before the Lord…and He will be merciful.
This is the real meaning of Repentance, friends.
We are called to first “rend our hearts“, and then render unto the Lord, that which He deserves – our True Worship!