Repent = Change Direction

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Joel 2:12-19

TO CHEW ON: "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

Suppose you did something bad like got mad at your little sister and hurt her. Now you feel really sorry. You wish you hadn’t hurt her and you’re also worried that you might get punished.

1. What thing from the list below will convince your parents you really are sorry and won’t do it again:
a] you cry
b] you apologize to your sister
c] you promise to never hurt your sister again
d] from now on treat your sister with kindness.

Though crying, apologizing and making promises might convince your parents you’re sorry, they’ll know you’re really sorry by watching how your actions have changed.

When the people of Judah stopped following God and again worshiped idols, they were like a kid who had done something wrong. Prophet Joel told them God was going to punish them by sending locusts and drought. But there was still a way to avoid this punishment. It was by coming back to God and showing Him they were truly sorry and had changed inside.

In Bible times, some ways people showed they were sorry was to cry, fast (not eat food) and tear their clothes. But God told the people He wanted them to do more than that. He wanted them to tear (“rend”) their hearts and be sorry in the deepest part of them.

llustration by Annie Vallotton from the Good News Bible © American Bible Society 1976, 1992

An inside change like this is called repentance. It means we not only say we’re sorry, but show by our actions that we’re turning away from our bad way of acting. We’re changing directions and won’t do the bad thing again.

Would God stop the locusts and the drought if He saw the people were really sorry and had repented?

2. What things did Joel say God would do if the people changed their ways (Joel 2:13, 18-19):
a] take pity on his people
b] be gracious and compassionate
c] send new crops
d] make slaves of them all

God is still the same today. When we do wrong things, to others or to Him, we need to do more than just say we’re sorry. We need to show it by changing directions in repentance. When we do, God will forgive us. He may even soften or take away the punishment our wrong actions deserve.

PRAYER: Dear God, ________ is something I need to repent of. Help me to change my actions. Amen.

MORE: Signs of Sorry

People in Bible times showed their feelings of being sorry, sad, or repentant in several ways.

Weep - People would cry - like we do.

Sackcloth: They wore sackcloth, a cloth woven of goat’s hair. It was dark, coarse and very itchy, especially when they wore it next to their skin.

Rend clothes: Sometimes people ripped their clothes, especially on first hearing sad news.

Ashes: Sometimes people put ashes on their heads and sit in an ash pile.

How do you show feelings of being sorry, sad or repentant?


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