Look what you did!
Rip your hearts out, not your clothes, and turn to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and great in mercy, and he is sad to punish. – Joel 2:13 (2: 12-13)
Look what you did! That phrase reminds me of the times my mother used to speak to the dog we had at home, when it broke a flowerpot and destroyed one of the plants that she so jealously cared for. I have also heard this phrase in some parents when, angry, they yelled at their son for something bad they had done.
Can you imagine God saying something like that to you? Look what you did! In truth, that is what God is saying to his people through the prophet Joel. Israel had become blinded in their sin. He did not see God clearly, therefore he did not see what was going on in his heart. So from God, simply put, Joel says to him: Look what they did! Acknowledge your sin. Break your heart. Realize your blindness and the wicked life you are leading.
Only when we look at what we have done, and recognize how much we have followed our whims and how much harm we have caused to those around us, can we see and understand what God has done for us. The message of Lent is: Look what God has done! He has hung Jesus in your place. He has punished his own Son instead of you. He fixed what you broke. The prophet Joel brings us a God great in mercy and salvation, because great is our sin.
Look what God has done! See what it’s still doing for you! The Lord is still slow to anger. He is sorry to punish us because he is loaded with mercy. The Lord continues to love you until death. Approach without fear. Enjoy it.
Thank you, Father, for what you have done, in Christ, for us. Amen.
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