Deciding to Repent
We all seek gratification in the work of our hands. We seek satisfaction in our relationships. Furthermore, we have a deep down desire to be a delight in the lives of others. Would you imagine being a delight to God? That God would find gratification, satisfaction in us is possible. You see God desires us to be his delight.
Perhaps you have heard one of these before, “Honey, it is your turn to decide what is for dinner.” Or may be, “Son, now that you are about to graduate have you decided on a college?” And if you have been around for awhile you may remember Howard Cocell saying, “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! George Foreman has delivered the deciding blow.” There are all kinds of things we must decide on everyday. And decide we must or else the decision will be made for us. Some decisions are petty; however, others are vital to life on Earth as in Heaven such as deciding to repent.
In the story we are about to read the people were to decide if they were going to obey the Lord their God or set their hearts somewhere else. If the Israelites decided for God then he would allow them to live in the land flowing with milk and honey; however, if they decided to live outside of his delight then he would disperse them among the nations. Although not directly related to our story Joshua is a fine example of making a decisive decision (Joshua 24:15). Long after the time of Joshua the Hebrew people would be admonished to draw nearer to the Lord because Jesus is the better way (Hebrews 6:1-6). There is a lesson in all of this for us. Decide for Christ and be God’s delight!
Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (NLT)
“In the future, when you experience all these blessings and curses I have listed for you, and when you are living among the nations to which the LORD your God has exiled you, take to heart all these instructions. 2 If at that time you and your children return to the LORD your God, and if you obey with all your heart and all your soul all the commands I have given you today, 3 then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you. 4 Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the LORD your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. 5 The LORD your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors!
6 “The LORD your God will change your heart* and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live! 7 The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate and persecute you. 8 Then you will again obey the LORD and keep all his commands that I am giving you today.
9 “The LORD your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant harvests, for the LORD will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors. 10 The LORD your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.
SETTING THE COURSE FOR DECIDING TO REPENT
Make the decision to repent! “Repent,” you say? Yes, repent because in doing so we will be his delight. The story of the prodigal son which Jesus shares illustrates the concept of repentance (Luke 15:11-32). In this story the younger son is the prodigal, who squanders his inheritance by living luxuriantly. Fortunately, he came to his senses before it was too late (Luke 15:21).
Like the prodigal son our hearts are prone to squander or throw away the opportunity of being God’s delight. Our hearts are hateful and we love that which is evil. This is the result of God giving us the ability to decide. Adam and Eve decided to disobey (Genesis 3:11); consequently, every man, woman, and child suffer the consequences of their disobedience. However, a loving God offers a way back to him if we will repent. Sometimes God has to get angry with us as he did the Israelites when they disobeyed. And sometimes God’s anger leads to discipline but God’s discipline is for our benefit. The reason God disciplines is so that the individual will be restored into right relationship. God’s reason for discipline is always restoration. As seen in Deuteronomy 30:1 God blesses the obedient and curses the disobedient! Obedience is having a heart that acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with the Lord (Micah 6:8). For example impure thought are taken captive in Jesus name (2 Corinthians 10:5). The Holy Spirit is for those of us who have been obedient in Christian baptism. The Holy Spirit helps us to take impure thoughts captive. God delight in those who repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and filled with his Holy Spirit to take up a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17). However, someone might say, “but I am happy with how things are now.” I do not question that because sin can be delightful for a season. I am NOT interested in being my own personal delight, or the delight of someone else. My goal and I hope yours too is being God’s delight. And I will say it again, repent, be baptized, and get the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Psalm 139:23-24 is a continual prayer of mine.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wickede way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
BEING HIS DELIGHT
The most motivational reason for us to repent is so that the Lord our God would take delight in us. This image of God taking delight in us is beyond description. I am at a loss for words. Would you think with me not so much of the prodigal son but of his father’s delight when he returned home? The father thought he had lost his son and he was once lost but now he had been found! Luke 15:14.
Why did God send his Son to be born of the virgin Mary in a little town called Bethlehem? To seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus has made substitutionary atonement. This refers to how Jesus acted as a ransom for our sin. Without Jesus’ death on the cross we would be eternally cursed!
Every one of us is a prodigal. We have erred; we have not loved God as we should, or our neighbor as ourselves. The good news is that Christ Jesus has paid our debt. What must we decide? Repent and be his delight Acts 2:38.