Day 3

God’s Call for Repentance

Joel 2:12-17, Zephaniah 1:7, Romans 5:18-21

BY Raechel Myers

Scripture Reading: Joel 2:12-17, Zephaniah 1:7, Romans 5:18-21

“Repent and believe.”

These are the words Christ uses in the Gospel of Mark to begin His earthly ministry (Mark 1:15). But isn’t it funny how quickly we skate past that first part? Believing is beautiful, but repentance is less glamorous. Yet, right out of the gate, Jesus’ ministry began with a call for us to repent of our sin and believe He came to save us.

If we skip repentance, what do we believe He saves us from?

I spent thirty years hearing the story of the prodigal son one way: a young foolish son squandering his inheritance, only to crawl back home when he had nowhere else to turn. To me, the story was always more about the father. I assumed the lesson here was that I should be as forgiving of foolish people as he was. Years passed, and now when I read that same story, I realize I’m not the father in this scenario. I’m the young fool. The story is as much about repentance as it is about forgiveness.

Scripture tells us the son came to his senses. He found clear eyes to look around and see the mess he’d made, then delivered a simple yet profound confession and repentance to his father: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21).

Repentance wasn’t easy. The son wasn’t even sure if his father would take him back. But the father received him with open arms as a beloved son.

If Christ calls us to repent and believe, let’s not skip the first step. In doing so, we miss the fullness of the gospel. Let’s listen closely and hear the call to repentance spoken by the prophet Joel on behalf of God Himself:

“Even now—this is the Lᴏʀᴅ’ declaration—turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lᴏʀᴅ your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and he relents in sending disaster.”
– Joel 2:12-13

Let’s rend our hearts, like the prophet Joel said. But let’s do so with the confidence that we are returning to a Father who will receive us with open arms and forgive us. He will rejoice over us with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). As my pastor sometimes says, when our repentance is at its deepest, the joy of our salvation is at its highest.  

Post Comments (72)

72 thoughts on "God’s Call for Repentance"

  1. Stefanie Musser says:

    I think I’m often more in danger of being the big brother. I have to remind myself that God is merciful and that I should rejoice in that mercy. Often I stand on the sidelines and feel good about myself. I’m hopeful that people get what they deserve. But mercy is getting what you don’t deserve. Do I love it when people don’t get what they deserve. Do I love it when they get mercy instead?

  2. Aislinn Blankenship says:

    This was absolutely beautiful!! I LOVE this new perspective on the prodigal son. It IS about repentance and repentance is hard but we KNOW that when we CONFESS & BELIEVE we are healed.

  3. Haley McGinnis says:

    Yes yes and yes!! So many people today want to leave out repentance. You have to turn from your sin toward Christ ♡ it’s so important but oh so worth it ♡

  4. Loving this perspective.. I am the foolish son! … The story doesn’t begin with the father opening his arms, but with the son repenting his sins and returning home…❤️✝️ YES LORD YES! Father u want you, all of you, Forgive me my sins and my failures. give me the strength to come to you, to return to you, to repent. Give me the strength to ignore the doubts of your love and mercy in my mind. Remind me whom my created is! I love you Lord! Thank you for everything, and for who you and who you continue to be. Amen!

  5. Charlotte Boyer says:

    I love how Joel 2:14 talks about God providing the food needed to make offerings into Him. So often we think it’s us giving something to God, when really it is Him who is providing not just our needs, but also surplus to give back to Him.

    1. Lindsay Smith says:

      Love this! Thank you for sharing this point.

  6. esther delgado says:

    I love how the Bible says “don’t just tear your clothes, but tear your heart” We do so many things superficially. We make everything about appearance but not about the soul. And somehow others find you to be better when they can “see” our outwardly action, and I think we feel better because truly we seek mans praise and approval. But when we tear our hearts we do so privately, sincerely and that’s when we truly seek God’s approval. That is when real change happens, not just superficial change.

    1. Katie McCall says:

      You’ve hit it right on. Thank you. ❤️

    2. Emily Seay says:

      Love this. So good!

    3. Jill Garcia says:


  7. Courtney says:

    Great study! Sometimes we forget that repentance is not a option but a requirement. Repent and turn from your wicked ways. It means that we never intend to return to the person we were before. It means change and for some that’s a difficult thing to embrace. If we want to be holy as Christ is holy then we must lay aside the things the hinder us. Darkness and sin have no place with light and righteousness.

    I’m loving these daily devotionals. Great start to my day!

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