Sometimes, when people say that they’re sorry, you can tell that they really aren’t. Sometimes, the “sorry” is dragged out of them. Other times they seem more sorry that they were caught than for their actions.
And that’s what God addresses in this passage. In the first part of chapter two, he continues letting the people know that this disaster of locust did not just happen by chance. Rather, it happened because of the people’s sin.
And then he told the people,
“Even now return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your hearts, 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.” (2:12-13)
“Rend your hearts, not your garments.” As a sign of grief or humility, people back in the Old Testament days would tear their garments. But God said, “I don’t just want outward appearances of repentance. I want your heart. I want to know that you are truly sorry for your actions.”
David once wrote,
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:16-17)
God told the people, “If you repent, then I will heal you. All the damage done from the locust will be undone. You will have new grain, new wine and oil, and all your trees will bear fruit once more. And you will no longer have to know shame.”
God tells us the same today. It is never too late to repent and turn from our sins. If we will just turn to him, he is quick to show compassion and mercy, and to bring healing in our lives from all the damage we caused by our sin.
Lord, help me to have a clean heart before you. To have a heart that is broken before you and that runs from sin. Lord, I thank you for your love. I thank you for your mercy. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to you. In Jesus name, amen.