Sunday, May 18, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 148: What the Lord Desires

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 148, May 17, 2014
Readings: Psalm 147, Numbers 33:1-49, Joel 2:1-17, 1 Timothy 4

What is it like to face God's judgement? What do we do when we know we've done wrong? Maybe we've been living in a sinful way, or need to repent for a sinful attitude. Is God the great lightening bolt in the sky, waiting to throw down massive judgement on our heads? Is he really waiting for us to make that one mistake so he can wipe us off the face of the earth?

"Yet even now," declares the LORD,
"Return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
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. (Joel 2:12-13)

This is what Jesus spoke about when he called the Pharisees a "whitewashed wall!" Having the appearance of goodness - following the traditions (ripping your garments was a sign of distress & repentance in Jewish culture.) But God doesn't ask us to rip our clothes. He wants us to rip our hearts. To be sorrowful for the wrong we have done, and to return to Him.

Ripping clothing doesn't make us righteous any more than the slaughter of lambs made the Israelites righteous. Rituals and traditions can never perform the life-changing work of God. God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Rituals are cold, heartless, a process without real results. God desires a heart change, not a clothing change.

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