Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rend Your Heart

Installment #11 of my self-assigned project to study the "re" words in God's Word. (For further explanation of this undertaking, refer to the entry titled "Reach, Read and Reap" from February 3, 2011.)



(verb) to pull or tear, sometimes violently, in grief or anger; to split or divide; to break up or distress

"Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:13
The phrase "rend your heart" in this verse puzzled me for a couple of years. I marked my Bible first in 2007 when I read this passage and pondered it for quite some time. I came back to it in 2009 and meditated on it again. At that time I really felt the Lord causing me to pause and take those words in and determine what they meant. It literally distressed my heart until I heard from God.

One of the cross reference verses is Jeremiah 18:8 which speaks about God's promise to withhold disaster if the nation repented of evil. After reading this I examined my heart but found myself perplexed. I felt prayed up and clean in my heart, but couldn't shake the feeling that God was trying to speak something specific to me. As I sought His counsel through prayer He finally imparted a word regarding my heart. I noted this revelation in my Bible next to those three words... "stop going through the motions". God wanted me to do what He stated in the verse previous (v.12). He wanted me to stop going through the motions in my faith and return to Him with all my heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning over the distance I had allowed to form between us in the midst of a difficult time. While I wasn't harboring a specific sin to repent, I was at times keeping God at arms length because of the painful trial we were experiencing in our lives - and I'd apparently been doing it for quite some time. But God...

But God was declaring in the rest of the verse that He would show me grace and compassion, patience and love, and maybe even blessings! Who wouldn't want to get back on track and be devoted to a "Daddy" like that!? Once I understood what God wanted me to know about this verse, I began to realign my life with His will by spending more time in His presence, in His Word and in tune with Him.

Father, thank You for burdening me with this verse until I figured out what it meant for me to rend my heart and what You wanted me to do with it. You are a compassionate, patient and loving God and I thank You for pursuing me relentlessly until my heart was right with You at that point in my life. Do it again Lord if I get off course I pray. In Jesus' name, amen.


  1. Hopelessness comes to my mind and my battle and these words seem to only affirm the hopelessness, I guess it is a cause of depression...sad huh?

  2. I certainly wouldn't want my words to affirm hopelessness. If anyone has Christ in their heart, there is always HOPE! My thoughts were encouraging to me - reminding me that when I was struggling to do much more than pray in the midst of difficult times, God was there wooing my heart back to Him. He still wanted my time and attention, even when my spirits were down. And in working to get my heart back in the right place with Him, He spoke to me through His Word in reassuring ways and enabled me to find joy in the midst of pain - something only God can do!