God warned his people about allowing their hearts to wander away from him. He foretold that they would become lackadaisical in their faith. They would begin to allow idols to occupy their hearts. The true God, who had led them from Egypt to the Promised Land would be squeezed out as the people became more comfortable in their new home.
But God also promised them that even if they were scattered to other lands as a discipline for their unbelief and sin, all they would ever have to do is turn around and come back to him. They would need only to leave behind their idols and return God to his rightful place in their hearts.
How could they know that God would be there waiting? Moses said these words long before Jesus taught the famous story of the Prodigal Son. But the lesson is the same.
There would be three things that God would never do, no matter how rebellious, idolatrous and unbelieving the children of Israel became. They could always know that a loving, gracious and merciful Heavenly Father would be waiting for their return.
He would not abandon them. He would not destroy them. And he would not forget the loving promises he had made to their forefathers.
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath. (Deuteronomy 4:29-31, NIV).
What beautiful words for us to hear too! In our comfortable 21st century circumstances, we may easily find ourselves wandering away from God and finding “shiny things” that we make more important than God. We need to know that these promises are still true for those of us who are the “Prodigal Sons” of today.
This life is your time of grace. So in this life, God will never abandon you. God will not destroy you. God will not forget the promises he made to your faith-filled ancestors. He is patient with you, not wanting you to perish. God simply wants you back in the family.
So, what are you waiting for? Come on back home to Jesus!
Our Bible reading for Monday, April 6, is Deuteronomy 4:15 – 5:33, Luke 11:5-32 and Proverbs 8:32-36.
Lord, thank you for your assurance that you are merciful and forgiving. I am so grateful to know that despite my sins, my idolatry and my rebellious nature, you will always take me back. This life is my time of grace. Even if my heart wanders, you will never abandon me, destroy me or forget your promises to me. By your Holy Spirit, turn my heart back to you, Lord.
Header image based on "Three" by Hubert Figuiere, CC By-SA 2.0