Rend your Hearts, Not your Garments

A second wave of locusts hit East Africa in April that is said to be 20 times worse than the first wave that started in February. Described as a locust plague of “Biblical proportions” farmland has been swept clean as the insects literally eat all green vegetation in their path.

And now they are dealing with the COVID-19 virus like the rest of the world.

Joel, the prophet, witnessed a great hoard of locusts devour Judah, saying:

Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
behind them, a desert waste—
nothing escapes them.
4They have the appearance of horses;
they gallop along like cavalry.
5With a noise like that of chariots
they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

7 They charge like warriors;
they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line,
not swerving from their course.
8They do not jostle each other;
each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defenses
without breaking ranks.
9They rush upon the city;
they run along the wall.
They climb into the houses;
like thieves they enter through the windows.
10 Before them the earth shakes,
the heavens tremble,
the sun and moon are darkened,
and the stars no longer shine.
11The Lord thunders
at the head of his army;
his forces are beyond number,
and mighty is the army that obeys his command.
The day of the Lord is great;
it is dreadful.
Who can endure it?

Throughout the Old Testament we find accounts of people expressing great distress, loss, grief, humiliation, even anger by tearing their garments. Called kriah in Hebrew (kree-yuh), the exception was the high priest (Leviticus 21:10) who, because of God’s special anointing, was not to tear his priestly robes. In Matthew 25 during the trial of Jesus, high priest Caiaphas “ripped his outer garments” when he thought Jesus was committing blasphemy in declaring Himself to be the Son of God.

God told Joel the people should “…rend your hearts, and not your garments.” The rending of the garment has little meaning if the person is not truly, sincerely repentant.

12 “Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the Lord your God.

Jesus could have called 10,000 angels to deliver Him from the sufferings of the cross, but he did not.


Because He looked down through time and history and saw us – me and you – and said “I will do this, if these are the only ones to be saved, I WILL do this!”

If we confess our sins, Jesus is just and able to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteous.

Rend your heart.