and 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;
and he relents over disaster.
“….and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
That was the line that caught my attention, so I made a note to write about it. I was familiar with the word render, which means in the verb form: “to provide or give”, but rend, was throwing me a bit of a curve. I thought it had to do with tearing since, “rend your heart” was followed by “and not your garments”. I took the time to look up the definition just to be sure. And that is what it means, to tear into two or more pieces.
The ancient Jews would tear, or rend their clothing, the ones they were wearing, as a way to express, or outwardly show, their distress, grief, or sorrow. There are numerous verses about tearing of garments throughout the Bible.
Here Joel is telling us that true repentance comes from the heart, from within. It is not an outward display for all to see. It’s not like when the Pharisees and high priests puffed themselves up for all to see while they were interrogating Christ and found his answers, the truth, unsuitable for their needs.
Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.
The message in this verse from Joel is a simple one that we all know and understand. Yet we all find it difficult to do. Joel is telling us, do not stand in front of onlookers and put on some public display of repentance to impress those who are watching. Repentance is not a show for all to see.
In your quiet solitude tear open your heart and allow God to enter. There is where true repentance lies.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.