Rend Your Heart

"So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful" (Joel 2:13).

Rending one's garments was the action of one experiencing distress. Such actions, however, might be only superficial. According to Joel, that which really needed rending was the heart. One could tear his garments into shreds and still not be right with God.

The basic need is the recognition of the guilt of sin and godly sorrow from a broken heart. Because of sin in his own life, David knew the kind of heart that pleases God. After his sin with Bathsheba, he wrote, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart -- these, O God, You will not despise" (Ps. 51:17). In the 34th Psalm, he further showed the vital need of the broken heart: "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit" (Ps. 34:18).

Paul knew that, where there was no sorrow for sin, there could be no forgiving of sin, "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation" (2 Cor. 7:10).

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