The 29th book of the Bible is titled ‘Joel.’
We do not know much about Joel nor do we have a great amount of detail that allows us to know the exact date in which Joel wrote his book. But in the 2nd of only 3 chapters, Joel writes a few sentences that point to the true nature of God and reveals His greatest desire for us.
Joel 2:13 says the following:
‘The Lord says, “Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.’
God is merciful.
God is compassionate.
God is slow to get angry.
God is filled with unfailing love.
Often times, when we do wrong or what the Bible calls ‘sin,’ we have a tendency to turn away from God. We do this because we think that surely God is disappointed with us or angry or just tired of our constant disobedience. How could He keep forgiving and keep showing mercy and keep being compassionate?
Isn’t He mad? Isn’t He angry with me?
I can see why people tend to turn from God instead of turn to God when mistakes are made or sins are committed. I would too if the god I believed in was angry all the time. But that is not the God of whom the Bible speaks.
In fact, Joel is very clear here. God is SLOW to get angry and is filled with unfailing love. That is the kind of God to whom we can run. That is the kind of God we don’t have to tip-toe around. That is kind of God that understands. That forgives. That shows us great mercy.
Now let’s once again read what Joel urges us to do: “Return to the Lord your God…”
God is not withholding His love or His mercy or His forgiveness…but He will not force it upon you. He loves you too much to force it. He cares too much to push Himself on us. We have to take the step to return.
Turn toward God today. Run to Him. Lean into His love. Fall into His grace.
He is waiting, with arms open wide, for us to return.