Rather, it was their willful rebellion that saw God’s judgment befall them. God was patient (like, 900 years patient) and by this time had given His people every opportunity to repent, yet they resisted and continued to live according to their own way. Personally, I resonated with these passages.
Although I lived in a similar rebellion as the Israelites, today I consider myself fortunate to know the transformative power of the love of God and what He’s done for us by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross. After years of living recklessly, it was one decision that would transform me into an obedient, disciplined, and devoted Christian. What was that decision? Repentance! True, utter, repentance of my grevious sinful nature, finally laid at the foot of the cross for once and for all. Not to be picked up again when I felt sad, or when I had a bad day, but never to be touched again.
Repentance is more than asking for forgiveness or feeling sorry, it requires action. Like a father might let his children go in the way of their poor decisions, so did God when He sent the Israelites to Babylon. God did this with the hope that they would come to their own conclusion towards repentance. The Hebrew verb we translate repentance from means “to return” (Wieja). Just as God was looking for His people to return to Him and His law, He looks for us to return to Him through His son, Jesus Christ. Jeremiah’s prophecies made it clear that a new covenant would be established with God’s people! The good news is already here, friends. Let us not be exiled, but let us return to the cross in humble repentance.
The first step to repentance is admitting it needs to happen. Don’t be discouraged along the way for “we all fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), but be glad! It is God who is shedding light on our sin, not to condemn us, but to bring us closer to Himself. After admittance, ask for forgiveness, and move forward anew. Be patient with yourself during the daily process that is changing your lifestyle, your habits, and even your thoughts. Rely on God and His restoring power. He isn’t content to leave us in broken conditions and it can be said that spiritual growth is forever, even on the other side of the cross. What a beautiful future for us to constantly live and strive towards.
Reference: Wieja, Estera. “What Did Jesus Mean by Repent? The Hebrew Meaning of Teshuva.” 3 August 2021,https://firmisrael.org/learn/what-did-jesus-mean-by-repent-the-hebrew-meaning-of-teshuva/.
Memory Verse: “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8
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