TEXT: Joel 2:12-14
READING: Isaiah 64:1-12
SUBJ: Repentance in a national context but more importantly in an individual context and seen as both a product of grace and the predecessor of other graces.
AIM: That we may recognize repentance as the grace of God bringing to us greater blessing still.
INTR: Repentance is a topic that is very often associated with negativity and dread and as such is avoided as not comfortable. The demand for it is repulsive to many. To the believer it is essential.
1. The clarion call to all from the beginning is to repent and believe. Remember: 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2. Peter’s hope for Israel that they might be given repentance: See Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And also: Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
3. The commandment echoed by Paul in Acts 17 – God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.
THESIS: A lack of true repentance means a lack of the true sense of blessings and grace that are seen in the expression of God to believers.
I. The call to repent (v. 12)
1. The “therefore” here comes after describing terrible judgment to come.
2. The unconditional demand of the Lord is without recourse.
1) The turning is to Him – the thought is of turning back – cf. with “quit your sinning.”
2) With all your heart (no room for equivocation) – See: Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”
3. Three elements in turning.
1) Fasting – so focused and desirous of the Lord that eating is not desired – not eating comes as a result of seeking the Lord not in order to impress.
2) Weeping – A continual act in desiring the Lord -- Psalms 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
3) Mourning – As to what has happened (sin, departure, judgment either witnessed or expected) – “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:8-10)”
II. The manner of the response (v. 13)
1. The practice of rending the garments as an expression of uncontrollable emotion at grief, terror or horror – See Paul in Acts 14.
2. AS to the heart:
1) Consider that such could be directed to the heart.
2) The place of a broken and contrite heart: Psalms 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. AND Psalms 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
3) S. F. Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
4) But we are never left in the state of brokenness!
3. The hope based on those things seen in God are the substance of pleading by many:
1) That He is gracious and merciful – the God of all grace Who delights in mercy,
2) Slow to anger – much longsuffering
3) Great kindness shown to us in Christ our Lord and the provision which is in Him.
4) Repenteth Him of the evil – which is deserved and is threatened. It is here viewed from the human viewpoint since God doesn’t change
i. See Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
ii. Ready to receive pentitents: Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
III. The hope that undergirds repentance (v. 14)
1. The appearance was of complete destruction to come.
2. Compare David praying for his son.
3. Enough left to offer praise and thanksgiving (He would cause the Locust to leave a blessing) – Repentance strips away all leaving the most precious of all which is Christ our Lord.