In the first part of Joel chapter 2 we see a God who is a “consuming fire“. But in the next part we see a God who is “gracious and compassionate“.
For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Joel 2:13
This does not mean He is double standard. This simply means that God is a God of second chances. He is a holy God (Joshua 24:19) and does not take pleasure in evil (Psalm 5:4). So when His people go astray, he punishes them by taking away things and situations in our life that has gained more importance than God. He tries to make us repentant and depend on Him and Him alone.
In Exodus 34, we see the first mention of a gracious and compassionate God. If we look at the context, the first two slates of ten commandments were broken by Moses out of anger. It was followed by Moses’ intercession to God and God replaced the two tablets. God of second chances. But the chance is not granted until there is true repentance.
“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, Joel 2:12, 13
Render your heart, and not your garments. God is not pleased with outward signs of fasting, weeping and long, meaningless prayers. “the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7“
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— Psalm 51:17
A repentant heart is all He wants. Because He is a God of second chances. He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and of great kindness. What a wonderful God we serve!
Verse 14 goes on to say,
Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him— Joel 2:14
What a comfort to know that He will turn the situation around. What a blessing to know that God answers the prayers of a true and repentant heart.
Matthew Henry says, “But whether he will remove a particular affliction which we are under may well be questioned, and yet the probability of it should encourage us to repent.” However, we can be rest assured that our sins will be forgiven and our reconciliation with God will happen when we truly repent.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
About the Author: I am a Christian Believer with a thirst for the word of God. I'm humbled as I study through the scriptures and comprehend what God has in store for me as He reveals them day after day. I record my Bible studies and thoughts on other Christian books that I read at http://walkinword.wordpress.com/ It is an effort to keep myself motivated in consistent reading and study of the Bible while encouraging others through my studies.