I hate how I feel after a fight.
Maybe I’ve screamed at my father. Maybe I’ve pushed my brother’s buttons. Maybe I lost control during an argument with my mother. It doesn’t matter who or what, the feeling is the same: I’ve gone way too far.
So far, in fact, that there’s no coming back. Our relationship has changed forever, I insist to myself morbidly. They’ll never love me the same way again.
Of course, it only takes a few minutes before I realize how dramatic I’m being. But that’s only after a fight.
I get the same feeling after I’ve sinned. The feeling spreads through me as I close my laptop and get into bed, or as I get up in the morning. It haunts me as I fight to emerge from a cycle of addiction.
You’ve gone way too far. God will never love you the same way again.
In Deuteronomy 30, the Israelites are lucky. They haven’t gone too far yet.
In fact, they are standing at the entrance of a beautiful new home. They are at the beginning of their new lives! No longer will they be nomads, fighting for survival day in and day out. They are about to become an established nation, with a land and home to call their very own. This is the start of it all.
But we know something that they don’t know: this won’t last. The purity, the freshness, the hope they feel now will soon give way to the impervious stains of sin and the jadedness that comes with failure.
Is this really the beginning of the end for the Israelites? Are they feeling the warmth of God’s smile for the last time?
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Some years down the line, the Israelites end up where you and I might be now. Bruised. Broken. Beaten by addiction. Mauled by failure.
They didn’t heed the careful, emotional warnings God had given them. They had ignored Him. They had done their own thing. And it had been years since they’d heard the voice of God or even felt Him near.
Even so. Even so, God had written them a special message for that very moment. Let’s read it. It’s for us, too.
“When all these…curses I have set before you come on you…and when you…return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and with all your soul…then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes…have compassion on you…gather you again. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.”verses 1-4
My favorite word in God’s message is “gather”. He will gather me to Him. He will gather you to Him. Doesn’t that make you imagine Him holding His arms open to you? Doesn’t that make you imagine Him coming to get you, you of all people?
Doesn’t that make you feel safe?
Doesn’t that make you feel loved?
They’re not just empty words. They are an invitation. They are a reminder. They are a plea.
You have not gone too far.
“My love will never change.”
The message in this chapter calls out to two types of people.
First are the ones who are at rock bottom. The ones who feel too dirty, too sinful to ever look God in the eye again. This message is God wrapping His arms around you. This message is God asking you to come home.
The second group of people this message is for are those who are like the Israelites in this chapter: beginning. Fresh. They’re about to embark on a new journey. They’re starting a new life with God, or they are considering it.
And to those people, God is saying “I’m worth it.” He’s telling those people of His matchless love. He’s asking those people to realize who He is.
Because the kind of God who will forgive anything, who will accept any hurting soul, who will hold zero grudges, who will enter any dark hole to bring His child out – that kind of God is a God worth following.
That kind of God is a God worth obeying. He is a God worth trusting. He is a God worth believing even when all the world tries to pull you away.
That kind of God is real. And His real message is for you.
What is your reply?
What do you think? Which type of person are you? Which type of person is your friend? Share this with them.