Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lordyour God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season in the church. Ashes have long been a symbol of sorrow and repentance in scripture. When Job was afflicted he sat among the ashes scraping at his sores with a broken piece of pottery.
And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
Job 2: 8
When the king gave an order to attack the Jews the people mourned in the ashes.
And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. Esther 4:3
Somehow in our culture we have lost the concept of sorrow for sin and repentance of sin. We only have to look at our advertising slogans.
“If it feels good, do it.”
“I’m worth it.”
“Just do it.”
I apologize if these are old to you but we gave up watching television last year for Lent and discovered we could live without it. So I am not up to date on the newest advertising slogans. But you get the picture. We are encouraged to live for self. Guilt is considered a bad thing. Guilt that cripples is not good but guilt that calls us to make a change is good.
The world today doesn’t want to talk about sin. They don’t accept God’s standards. Truth is not an absolute but whatever you deem the truth to be. That is a lie from Satan.
If we believe that God is Who He says He is and the God will do what He says He will do then we must live it out. The Bible says that all have sinned, therefore all are called to repentance. Will you humble yourself on this day of repentance and fall before the LORD and confess your sin and repent? Or will you listen to Satan’s lies and stand on your own?
It is not a smudge of ashes on the forehead that makes the difference.
It is the condition of your heart that matters.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
a broken and a contrite heart, O God,
thou wilt not despise.