VotD 3/7/19

Again, context makes all the difference with this verse. On the face of it, this verse means what it seems to mean: that no matter what, no matter when, you can always return to God. This interpretation makes it unclear: can you only return to God if you return with all your heart? The verse in context is clearer. This is not a request. It’s not God announcing the possibility, like now is the time for amnesty and you have the opportunity to take advantage of it. God is telling the people, through the prophet Joel, that now is the time when they need to come back or else it will, in fact, be too late. The New Living Translation says, “Turn to me now, while there is time.” A dark day is coming: a day when God will finally act. And we don’t want God to act, not in reality. Because when God acts in judgment, everyone falls short. When God acts, God’s power is so great that it overwhelms even the power of the greatest modern-day military. The earth itself can’t stand in God’s way, how much less could an individual stand if God is on the move? Through Joel, God is begging us to turn back – to be on God’s side, not against God. God knows that there’s pain involved in opposing what God plans to do, and God wants desparately for us to avoid that pain. Turn back in your attitudes and thoughts and beliefs – and yes, your actions also – because God loves to love, and lives to be merciful. Be with the God who loves you, not against God whom you are powerless to control.