In January 2014, I wrote about what happens when a nation disobeys God, and disregards His covenant of blessing and protection. Today, we'll look again at what happens when they repent, and turn back to Him.
In the Old Testament, we see over and over again how the nation of Israel would be zealous about following God's teachings and instruction ... for a time. But after some generations, they would forget His commandments and turn away.
When they were in the wilderness, while Moses was on Mt. Sinai meeting with God and getting the 10 commandments, they grew weary of waiting. Deciding that Moses wasn't coming back, they asked the priests to make them an idol that they could worship. (How many of you already know that's a bad thing?)
But that's what they did, and God knew about it, of course. He told Moses,
Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. (Exodus 32:7-10)But Moses interceded for his people.
And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. (Exodus 32:11-14)
I wrote of "righteous anger" just a couple of days ago. Well, there's proof that God has a temper, and He was angry about the people's behavior. But did you catch what Moses did? Moses, the appointed leader of the Israelites, didn't back down, but reminded God of all the things that He said He would do for them. And that's what we have to do, too.
Why are we to remind God of what He has said about blessings on us? Is He forgetful?
Not at all. But we are - and if we can pray to God about everything He has promised to do for us, then we are remembering, and we'll also remember to be obedient to His teachings.
"But Reverend Paul," you say, "what happens when the leaders aren't godly, and they are the ones who disobey?"
At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. (Jeremiah 18:7-8)
Did you catch that? If the people repent, God will withhold judgment, and restore that nation.
... if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Trust me, folks: that's a good promise! God didn't say, "If the nation repents" or "If the leaders repent". He said, "If My people repent". That's us.
There are millions of believing, faithful Christians all over this land, crying out for deliverance and restoration. I don't believe for a minute that God will ever abandon us.
God's not finished with us yet. But it's up to us to pray, and repent for the nation, and ask Him to heal what's wrong.