Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God. Joel 2:13.
It was the custom among the Jews for the garments to be rent at the death of friends, but this custom the priests were not to observe…. Everything worn by the priest was to be whole and without blemish. By those beautiful official garments was represented the character of the great antitype, Jesus Christ. Nothing but perfection, in dress and attitude, in word and spirit, could be acceptable to God. He is holy, and His glory and perfection must be represented by the earthly service…. Finite man might rend his own heart by showing a contrite and humble spirit. This God would discern. But no rent must be made in the priestly robes, for this would mar the representation of heavenly things.
When Christ declared Himself the Son of God, Caiaphas, in pretended horror, rent his robe, and accused the Holy One of Israel of blasphemy.
He had done the very thing that the Lord had commanded should not be done. Standing under the condemnation of God, he pronounced sentence on Christ as a blasphemer…. The priestly robe he rent in order to impress the people with his horror of the sin of blasphemy covered a heart full of wickedness.
How different was the true High Priest from the false and corrupted Caiaphas. Christ stood before the false high priest, pure and undefiled, without a taint of sin. Christ mourned for the transgression of every human being. He bore even the guiltiness of Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his soul, while for pretense he rent his robe. Christ did not rend His robe, but His soul was rent. His garment of human flesh was rent as He hung on the cross, the sin-bearer of the race.
Many today who claim to be Christians are in danger of rending their garments, making an outward show of repentance, when their hearts are not softened nor subdued. This is why so many continue to make failures in the Christian life. An outward appearance of sorrow is shown for wrong, but their repentance is not that which needs not to be repented of.
Conflict and Courage p. 323
—–Please pray for Sarah Jane and her husband who drive truck and it is broken down in a neighboring state. Pray that they can figure out what is wrong and it will be easy to fix. Rose
—–A widow lady from our grief support group her daughter died unexpectedly yesterday she was out walking an fell an died. they will be doing an autopsy on her to see if she had a heart attack or a stroke. this woman’s husband passed away almost three years ago. ‘M.C.
—–Please pray, on my way to the ER and I’m in so much pain please pray. Cynthia
—–My family could use some prayers…my Father-in-law is in the hospital for his heart and my Mom is in a different hospital for psychological issues. Thank you! Edward
—–Please pray for healing for a mother whose baby has died. Debra
Knowing that I had always wanted to learn to play the piano, at the time of my 14th birthday, my mother told me that she had enough money saved to buy me a piano or to pay for lessons, but she could not afford both. She worked very hard for long hours and even then, we had almost nothing. So this present was extra special. I didn’t have to think very long. I responded, “If I choose the lessons, I’ll have nothing to practice on and they’ll do meno good. I choose the piano.”
My grandmother let me have a hymnal that she never used. My mother showed me where middle C was on the keyboard and on the music. From what I had learned in music class in school, in a couple of months, I could play Rock of Ages and a few other songs. God blessed and in a couple of more months, I could play any song in that hymn book. There was so much about music that I didn’t even begin to realize, but that didn’t bother me. I just loved the piano and would come home from school and spend hours playing it when I should have been doing my homework or helping with housework. My grandmother gave me her old sheet music, and I began a collection of popular music from the 1860’s through the 1920’s (which, sadly, got burned up when we lost everything in a house fire).
A couple of years later, I started going to church. At first when they asked me to play in the youth division, I would literally get sick to my stomach I was so afraid. I felt very unsure of myself. And I should have feltthat way: I knew so little and I had never heard the songs before. By the time I was 18, I was asked to play for a special meeting they were having. I began to feel a little proud. I walked up to the piano and began to play “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I was doing fairly well, when suddenly a puff of wind blew the pages of my song book and I was looking at a completely different song. I didn’t know what to do. I sort of knew the tune and tried to pick it out with my right hand while fumbling through the book with my left hand, trying desperately to find the right page. I was totally humiliated.
After what seemed like an eternity, my friend Laurel brought up another hymnal that she had opened to the right page. She pointed to the right place in the music; and I began to play as if nothing had ever happened. She took other hymnals and propped the book open so I would not lose my place again. It was all very embarrassing, but it was very good for me. That pride that I had begun to enjoy, had completely vanished. Over the years, I have had many more embarrassments that have not allowed any pride to return.
Jesus taught the principle “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt 23:12 “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
Many timesJesus helped His disciples understand this principle. It was a hard lesson for them to learn. Their whole focus was on being the greatest and having the highest place inthe kingdom that they were sure that Jesus was about to establish. “And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.” Mark 9:33-37
We have so little to be proud of. James says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14 Peter agrees, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:24,25
Praise God that “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities….Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.” Ps 103:10-13
Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Rom 12:1-3
May we not allow pride to fill us with self importance. May we remember to stay close to our Dear Saviour Who is our only strength, our Only Helper. May we look away from self and focus on the One Who loves us so.
Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God. Joel 2:13.