"Even now, "declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." 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. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing- grain offerings for the LORD your God. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"
In these early days, tearing your clothes was an outward sign of grief and distress over some disaster or calamity. It was also a sign of deep sorrow and mourning over someone who has died. Sometimes it indicated a holy indignation (righteous ANGER) against sin and what is contrary to God’s Word.
Outward signs are NOT enough! God wants more! He wants us to give our hearts to him! This however is no easy task. We cannot give him part of us and then continue about our own agenda apart from him. According to this passage, returning to him will be followed by fasting, weeping and mourning. I believe this is a direct result of our sin. When we turn around and gaze on his beauty and majesty our eyes are truly opened to our own troubled state. We are also told to call everyone together; and to worship the LORD.
Have you heard in recent days "Where is their God?" I have too. Suddenly a people who have rejected God are blaming him for "not being there". Though our nation is a nation rooted in the Gospel of Christ, for many generations it has only been an outward display of loyalty to him and more recently a complete rebellion of his truth. I believe this land was given to us by God to be a blessing to us and to others, a place where we were free to worship Him in spirit and in truth. God lead people here who were tired of just outward signs and religious piety at surface level. They gave up everything to follow him. And He blessed them.
Little by little we have forgotten why we are here. God gave us this land to honor Him and not ourselves. We are not going to be able to keep expecting his blessings, without first rending our hearts to him and not just our garments. A time has come that if we do not turn back to him there will be more and more sorrow.
"May we never be content with having only the form or pretense of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah's kiss. Instead, may the Holy Spirit do such a work in us that we will cling with our whole heart to our Lord Jesus." -Charles Spurgeon