“Return to the Lord your God for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm” Joel 2:13
It seems to be more common these days that I hear people, both face-to-face and in the media, claiming to speak with authority regarding the Bible. Quite often they imply that they are quoting the Bible and yet the words they speak I am yet to discover in the Bible. In fact, I know that they are not in it or that the “quote” is distorted so much as to say the opposite to the meaning intended.
I heard a man claim that God could not be a God of love because his child died of a terrible illness. He was angry and bitter at God. He did not make the connection that God’s Son died in his place and for his sin. The Father knows his grief and could have comforted him in his grief.
The reason for much error is ignorance of what the Bible actually says. One person says something that he thinks is in the Bible, another quotes him to others saying that it is in the Bible and before we know it the God of the Bible is being much maligned. This is just one of many scenarios that reveal the critical importance that Christians know their Bibles and are able to correct such abuses.
When driving on highways we see signs that tell us the distance to the next few exits. On most occasions we will only remember the one relevant to us at the time. It may be that we do the same when reading the Bible. We may miss parts that are not significant to us at the time.
In the passage from Joel, cited above, the Lord is calling for His people to return to Him. If they do they will find Him gracious, merciful, patient and kind. Most of all they will find forgiveness and the Lord will have a change of heart regarding the judgment hanging over their heads. The people of Nineveh found this out in living practice when they responded to the word of the Lord spoken by the prophet Jonah.
It is very disappointing whenever I hear someone misquote the Bible regarding the Divine Nature. It is even more disappointing when it comes from Christians. My wife and I were away from the Lord for about eleven years until the Lord restored us. Two verses were shared with us at that time, Hosea 14:4 and Hosea 2:25. Even though both are written with regard to Israel, God’s nature does not change. We have found them both to be true to us personally. The Lord has healed our backsliding, He has continuously poured out His love on us, He has forgiven us and restored the lost years. Joel 2:13 has also been demonstrated to be true because God is faithful to His word.