Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. (vv. 12-14 KJV)

My generation is wonderfully tuned in to the grace, mercy, slowness to anger, and great kindness of God—perhaps to the neglect of mouth-dropping awe before Almighty God, who asks for inward rather than outward rending. Joel describes the “great and very terrible” day of the Lord (v. 11) and rightly ponders who can survive it. The answer is, those who fear God appropriately.

Isaac named God “the fear” (Gen. 31:42, 53), and throughout Scripture’s narrative, the fear of God is a powerful antidote, leading to right choices (Exod. 20:20), justice (2 Sam. 23:3), peace (2 Chron. 17:10), honesty (Neh. 5:15), kindness (Job 6:14), worship (Ps. 5:7), wisdom (111:10), joy (128:1), knowledge (Prov. 1:7), hatred of evil, pride, arrogance, and perverted speech (8:13), longer life (10:27), strong confidence (14:26), a fountain of life (14:27), rest (19:23), a sure foundation (Isa. 33:6), unwavering faith (Jer. 32:40), a multiplying church (Acts 9:31), persuasive faith (2 Cor. 5:11), holiness (7:1), and humility toward each other (Eph. 5:21).

Fasting, weeping, mourning, and torn hearts aren’t to be feared. God is. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, ask God to show you where fearing him could be the antidote for your heart.