Turning to the Lord
Joel 2:12-14
Therefore also now, said the LORD, turn you even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

I. REPENTANCE AS A TURNING. Repentance is sometimes represented as renewing from a decay. Refining from dross. Recovering from a malady. Cleansing from soil. Rising from fall. Here the figure is turning. To turn is properly applied to them that are out of their right way. Whether a way be good or no, we principally pronounce by the end. Our end, or sovereign good, we call happiness. As we cannot find that here, we are to seek it with God. From God we ought never to turn our steps. The way of sin, of seeking our own pleasure or profit, is the way of turning from God. We are to turn to God. Whither should we turn from sin but to God? Many simply turn from one sin to another. We are to turn with the heart. There is a turning of the brain only. An alteration is required not of the mind only, but of the will, a change too of the affections of the heart. Not of bodily relations only; heart and all must turn. It must be with the whole heart. Not dividing the heart from the body, and not dividing the heart in itself.

II. THE MANNER OF IT. "With fasting." Not only by way of regimen to keep the body low, but as a chastisement for sin already past. To be abridged of that which otherwise we might freely use hath in it the nature of a punishment. How must we fast? Two kinds of fasting in Scripture.

1. David's. No meat at all. That is too hard.

2. Daniel's fast. He ate no "meats of delight." The Church mitigates all she may. Content to sustain nature, not to purvey the flesh, to satisfy the lusts thereof. "With weeping." Thinking of the sins of our past might well make us weep. If we cannot weep, mourn we can, and mourn we must. Mourning is the sorrow which reason itself can yield. We can wish; we can pray; we can complain and bemoan ourselves. "Rend your hearts." If it is not done with the heart, nothing is done. As in conversion, the purpose of amendment must proceed from the heart; so in our contrition, the sorrow, the anger, for our turning away must pierce to the heart. Rending doth not so properly pertain to the passion of sorrow as to the passion of anger. The apostle puts into his repentance indignation and revenge, as well as sorrow. To say the truth, they are to go together. If we be truly sorry for our sin, we shall be angry with ourselves the sinners.

(Bishop Andrewes.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

WEB: "Yet even now," says Yahweh, "turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning."

Thoughts for Lent
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