Rend(ered) Useful

9 01 2012

Today’s word is rend, and it means to tear or be torn violently.  The word comes from the Old English rendon “to tear, cut” which is itself comes from the Western Germanic randijanan which means to cut, break, anything broken Yesterday, our pastor taught on Joel 2, specifically verses 12-13 and 28.  Of particular interest to me was verse 13, “and rend your hearts, not your garments.”  In this verse, I see Jesus’ heart as He talked about the religious leaders and their hypocrisy.  Specifically, during the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6), Jesus teaches us not to practice our righteousness (charity, prayer, and fasting) before others or we will not receive the reward from our Father.  Jesus tells us to give in secret, to pray in our inner room, and to fast but not look like we are fasting.  When our Father sees what we do in secret, He will reward us.  This begins in rending our hearts before the LORD.

Clean Cut Media Torn Heart

Going back to Joel 2:13, what does it mean to rend our hearts? I think part of the answer comes from the previous verse (Joel 2:12) because when we are fasting, weeping, and mourning our hearts are softened.  Our hearts must be torn, broken of pride.  Through brokeness, we become receptive to God’s work.  We learn to confess our sins.  We can accept His grace.  Then He responds.

Which leads to the next passage in Joel 2 (18-27), the LORD’s response.  The LORD says He will be zealous for His land, have pity  on us, His people, and remove our reproach.  He promises provision and restoration.  As in verse 25, He will “repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” He also tells us that never again we will be shamed.

I believe Jesus is the ultimate fulfilment of these promises.  In Him we have new life, and through Him we receive the Spirit.  Joel also prophesied about the Spirit.   In Joel 2:28, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”  The Spirit brings revelation, dreams, and visions.  Revelation can bring freedom to the enslaved and the hurting, speaking admonishment, life,  and blessing.  Dreams and visions can give direction and purpose to those who are wandering, looking for a reason to live.  By His grace, we can have hope on the “great and dreadful day of the LORD.”

This is what it means to be rend(ered) useful.  Are you struggling? Do you feel lost, without vision, revelation, or dreams? Are the locusts eating the years of your life? Will you rend your heart before the LORD? Turning from what you think is right and surrending to His ways. (For more read James 4:6-10)

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