Summary: God knows His children will stray but has always given them access back to His blessings. He will go to any length to bring us back.

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Rend Your Hearts and Not Your Garments

Joe Mack Cherry

Text: Joel 2: 12-14

Purpose: To see lengths at which God will go to bring His children back to him,

to see what God requires to come back, and to see how greatly God blesses the penitent heart.

I. Introduction

A. The Times (circa 835 BC)

1. II Kings 11 & II Chr. 24: 7

a. King Ahaziah has died in battle his mother Queen Athaliah seized

power by the process of eliminating murderously heirs to the throne.

b. 835 BC was approximately the 6th year of her reign.

c. She was very, very evil.

1. Her grandfather was Omri. At the time of his reign, he was

deemed the most wicked king to date. (I Kings 16: 25-26)

2. She authorized the desecration of the temple.

3. Idol worship was the norm.

2. God was fed up!

a. Deut. 8: 19 – Read

b. God deals with it in a way that Judah can understand.

B. God Uses the Mouth of the prophet Joel and a Locust Invasion

1. Joel 1 – Joel calls for national repentance.

2. This was a literal plague that resulted in utter devastation to the


a. A locust will lay 65K-75K/sq m/ of theses 60K will hatch

b. This plague would have lasted about 5 mo.

c. It took 7 years for the land to recover.

d. Plants were stripped, trees were debarked, and erosion became a

serious problem because rain simply ran off.

3. In 1915 Palestine was hit by a locust plague: each man/boy 16-60 was

required to pick up 11 lbs. of eggs/day til there were no more.

C. God Withdraws Fellowship from Judah.

1. The meal offering and the drink offering could not happen because

there was nothing to offer.

2. This was God’s way of fellowshipping with the Priest.

3. God also gives them hope.

a. Read Text

b. Gen. 30: 1-10

II. Lesson

A. The Locust Plague Left Judah Devastated

1. God was the Commander of the Locust Army. Joel 2: 11

2. History tells us that Judah did not repent until Tiglath Pileser III (Pul)

invaded Judah and made off with the treasures. The locust were liter-

al but also symbolic of the Persian invasion. * Pul was not a Persian!

He was one bad dude!

3. The locust plague was a harbinger or shadow of the invasion men-

tioned above. Joel uses the plague to describe the Day of Jehovah!

4. Refer back to Joel 1: 2 – Read

5. God will go to any lengths to bring his children back to Him.

a. Can you think of other examples? 40 yrs. in the Wilderness – more?

b. God really isn’t always interested in our comfort.

c. He always saved a remnant.

B. What God Wants

1. God tells Judah through Joel to rend their hearts and not their


2. The devastation had left Judah sorry because of the loss of food and

luxury. It’s like us being sorry for getting caught and not sorry for

transgressing God’s law.

3. Sometime God will alienate Himself from someone in order to get them


4. God wants TRUE REPENTANCE!!!!

a. True repentance requires Godly sorrow. II Cor. 7: 10

b. Joel 1: 13-14 – Put on sackcloth and wail; true repentance usually

invokes tears.

1. Remember what Peter did when he realized he had denied Christ?

2. Remember what Manassas did when he was captured.

II Chr. 33: 10-13.

c. King David says it best in Psa. 51: 17 – Read

C. What God Does for the Penitent

1. Renews His fellowship – Joel 2: 14

2. The Prodigal Son

3. He has greater blessings than anyone can imagine.

4. God delights in showing mercy. Micah 7: 18

5. Mal. 3: 6ff

6. This train of thought is not a “health & wealth” gospel many preach.

7. God’s commands are always “profit” driven

a. Repent or ye shall all likewise perish. Lk. 13: 3 Repent/Receive

eternal life.

b. Give, Forgive, and don’t judge/you will likewise in greater measure. Lk. 6: 38

III. Closing

A. Does God Get as Involved in Our Lives as He Did in Judah’s?

1. What do you think?

2. Is the God of Judah, the God of Green Ridge or Nashville or Atlanta?

3. Heb. 12: 6ff

B. God Has a Covenant Relationship With Us

1. What did Jesus tell His disciples? “Lo, I am with you always, even

even unto the end of the age.” Mt. 28: 18

2. Just as God knew the Children of Israel would stray, He knew we

would also. God takes us back upon our repentance just as He did


3. God gives us help when we can’t help ourselves. Rom. 8

Many of the facts presented in this lesson originate from a Study of Joel by the late Bro. Richard Rogers of SIBC

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