(2) Come back to the Lord and say these words to Him: "Take away all our sins and kindly receive us, and we will keep the promises we made to you." (4) The Lord says, "I will forgive them for leaving me and will love them freely, because I am not angry with them anymore. (9) A wise person will know these things, and understanding person will take them to heart. the Lord's ways are right. Good people live by following them, but those who turn against God die because of them.
I wrote this devotion 3 years ago when my son was going through one of the toughest times in his life.
My son is 18 years old. Over the last two years he has become addicted to drugs. The drugs have literally destroyed his life or at least all the good things in his life. These drugs were taking him farther and farther away from God and deeper and deeper into a lifestyle that eventually would have him end up in Prison or most likely dead. Finally it got to where my son could not go one day without using or he would be sick from the withdrawals. He eventually forgot what it was like to feel normal. Those days were gone! As far as his relationship with Jesus, there just wasn't much left there anymore. My son had cursed God and everything related to Christianity. I assume that he felt that God had washed his hands of him, so he did the same towards God. In his own weakness he felt that he would be just fine on his own. After all, who needs a God that allows things like this to happen?
Israel did the same thing. they decided to live the way they wanted rather than obey the laws that God had established for his people. What's amazing to me is as we live the way we want, we fail to see the bright and hopeful future that God has planned for us. We think to follow and obey God is too restrictive and prevents us from living a fun filled joyous life. But the opposite is what happens. To obey God is to live. To live in obedience is fulfilling and rewarding. To live in disobedience is destructive and devastating. Satan wants us to believe that we are under God's thumb and we have no freedom in who we are. But God's word tells us that Jesus came so that we may have abundant life and that His truth will set us free. Doesn't sound too restrictive or controlling to me. We can live the way we want, however to not live for Christ is to live for ourselves, and we all know that selfishness is not a part of God's plan for our lives.
We live by following God's commands and we die by not following them. The greatest news is found in verse 4. The Lord says... "I will forgive them for leaving me." "I will love them freely." "I am not angry with them anymore." I hope you realize that it's Gods love and mercy that never fails. When we request forgiveness we must realize that we don't deserve it. Our appeal is for God's love and mercy, not His justice. Although we can not demand forgiveness, we can be confident that we receive it because God is gracious and loving and wants to restore us to himself, just as He wanted to with Israel.
Remember this... When our will is weak, when our thinking is confused, and when our conscience is burdened with a load of guilt, we must remember that God cares for us continually; His mercies never fail. When friends or family desert us, when co-workers don't understand us, or when we are tired of being good; Gods mercies never fail. When we can't seem to hear God's voice, and when we lack the courage to go on; Gods mercies never fail. When our shortcomings and our awareness of our sins overcome us; remember... God's mercies never fail.
My son now understands and realizes what the consequences of his sins has done to his life. He did end up in jail, but he's alive and he's working hard to start again. He is repenting. I thank God that He loves my son so much that He wants to restore him and make him prosper.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for my son. I thank you that you love him so much that you have forgiven him for all that he has done. I love him so much. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for the good of those who love You. I pray that one day my son will be a source of encouragement to others because of what he has gone through. may You receive all the praise! Thank You Jesus! Amen