Is this true repentance? Only the Lord really knows. But had if they'd had a repentant attitdue then they wouldn't have been brought to this place. I believe there is more evidence that the people turned quickly back to God when it affected their material wealth. They had God all figured out. Whatever He did in judgment, He would quickly undo; all they had to do was turn to Him. They were quick to repent and then just as quick to return to the previous lifestyle. They didn't realize the depth of their sin. They thought it would all pass in a few days. In fact, while they were flippant about sin and assuming any crisis would be resolved by God in few days; God was bringing about their destruction and moving them to exile.
When we face a national crisis we suddenly are one nation under God and we cry God bless America. Yet, when the crisis passes, we as a nation, return to our wicked ways. Like the children of Israel, we somehow believe God owes us a correction when we recite our prayers. Like any good father, God is patient and loving to His children that stumble and bumble in sin as they are loving and pursuing Him. Yet, the loving Father brings correction to the disobedient, wayward and rebellious child.
This seems to be the evidence that the repentance wasn't real. They had a faithfulness one minute that couldn't be found the next. This sounds very much like the words of a Father dealing with a rebellious child. He doesn't want to punish them, they won't listen.
God cut them to pieces with the prophets and killed them with the words.
11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
God's word is living and active; the same yesterday, today and forever. God had given them the word by which they were to live. He was their God and provided for them in every way. Yet, they turned away. That same word that was their provision now became the words that would bring about their destruction.
It's hard to imagine them coming to God with a sacrifice and making a burnt offering when they were rebelious, wicked and seeking other gods. They were going throught the religious motions of worship in an atttempt to cover all their bases; keep all the gods happy. They had put God Most High among all their other gods. How irreverent! How heartbreaking that must have been to God. Yet, if we pause to examine ouselves, we'll find we've been in this same place. We've opened the word reluctantly, not desiring God but going through the motions. We've skipped the prayer because we had something more important. We've attended church to give God his hour and half for the week. Then we've gone back to our life, our way having given God our little sacrifice.
God desires mercy and knowledge of God, not empty and rote religious motions. Jesus quotes this in Matthew 9:13 when Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees for sitting down with tax collectors and sinners. There is no substitute for knowing Him and living in His presence. He's our Father and He wants to share in our life. He wants to be there when we experience life; when we feel joy or pain, sorrow and contentment. He wants to guide us through those difficult places in our life. And He wants to bless us without spoiling our adventure to pursue this life with Him. In this life, we will never see Him clearly or understand all His ways like we'd like.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
The religious trappings meant nothing when they weren't done in love. They became a chore, something done to stay in right relationship with God. The love of the Lord was forgotten and the covenant was broken. Mat 9:13; Mat 9:24
Gilead was once a sacred place and Shechem was a city of refuge. At this time, the once great cities from God were now known for murder and crime. The priests were like marauders who lie in ambush to lead men astray. It reads like the priests literally murdered along the road. While in reality it probably wasn't that blatant; the point is that it might as well be. This is just an incredible picture that shows how far a nation can fall and how bizarre the changes seem when all retraint is thrown away and there is no knowledge of God.
©2016 Doug Ford