“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.” (Hosea 6:1)
God invites you to come back to Him. No matter how far away you’ve wandered, or how long you’ve been gone, (Hosea 6:1) opens the door: “Come, and let us return unto the Lord” ….. That’s the invitation to revival.
“Come” ~ This is a tender-hearted pleading. You don’t have to stay where you are. You don’t have to live the life you’re living. You don’t have to experience the sorrow and heartache you’re feeling. Right now, this very second you can return to the Lord. It’s not too late. Return! God is waiting now with open arms. Return to Him!
Doubt can become faith ~ Discouragement can become joy ~ Despair can become purpose and fulfillment ~ Defeat can become victory ~
How can that happen in your life, you ask? When you return ~
The Hebrew term translated return is used more than one thousand times in the Old Testament; that’s more frequently than almost any other words describing what God desires for us. Hosea uses the term twenty-three times. In fact, the entire book of Hosea assures us that good things await those who return to the Lord ….
Returning is a picture of repentance and a decision made at a point in time. Imagine a smoke alarm suddenly going off …. You have an instant choice to make: remain where you are or move away from the danger. You may be slow to respond, or simply ignore the alarm, hoping it will reset. Perhaps that’s even the danger.
In the same way spiritually, when you hear the alarm, how do you respond? Have you grown deaf to God’s call? When God has spoken, have you simply ignored Him? Do you hear His voice today, beckoning, “Come, return”? Turning to God means …..??
1.) Recognizing ~
The first part of turning is recognizing that behaviors, even thoughts rigorously rationalized are the real issues in your heart. What has to go? As you let God shine His light on your activities and inner thoughts, you’ll realize, “This is wrong or harmful to me and to those I love. I recognize this for what it is: sin. That used to be attractive, but it repulses me now.” Sin is a barrier to returning, and we have to open our eyes and see clearly ….
2.) Repenting ~
When you see what got you where you are, you don’t want it anymore. You’re ready to be honest with yourself and with God. “I’m wrong, God. I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I have no excuse for my choices. I’m unworthy, I’m undeserving, but I’m returning right now.” There is no downpour of mercy without returning, and there is no returning without repentance …..
3.) Re-Turning ~
If you want to experience the downpour, then you have to come back. This is not just an emotional response or some flippant change of mind; it’s also an exertion of your will to get moving again in the right direction. It’s a choice: “I’m leaving this sin behind. I don’t want this anymore. I’m not hanging around that temptation anymore; I’m shutting it off and moving away. I’m returning to the Lord. I want what God has for me; first, most, and best. I surrender now” …..
Think of returning to the Lord as discovering a destructive weed in the garden of your heart. First, you recognize it: “Hey, that’s a weed! I’ve got to get it out of my garden.” Second, you pull it up by the roots; that’s repenting, demonstrating that you are really done with that weed. Third, you dispose of the weed so it can’t sink its roots into your garden again. That’s putting serious distance between the sin and your life …..
Today, do you hear the call: “Come, let us return unto the Lord”? Don’t delay. Don’t try to fix yourself or sort things out before you return. You don’t have to be clean in order to get right with God. He makes you clean! He doesn’t need you to fix yourself (as if you even could). He wants your heart and His to be as close as possible as soon as possible ….. Come now. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have plenty of time …. Don’t think, “I’ll take care of that tomorrow” ….. tomorrow may not come for you …..
“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)
What are the real issues in your heart; those behaviors you rigorously rationalize that keep you distant from God? Is this call for you? Is He speaking to your spirit now: “Come, return unto me”….. If so, then don’t be satisfied with mental assent. What steps do you need to take to return?
Let us pray ~
Father God; this invitation in Hosea says so much about You. You love me…. You miss me…. You want what’s best for me… You’re waiting for me with open arms…. You want me to come home. Thank You for being “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6). Today, as I hear Your voice, I do not want to harden my heart. No more delays, no more wandering. I’m coming home. I choose today to acknowledge me sin before You. I choose to recognize all of my sin for what it is, to confess it before You and repent of it, and to return unto You ….
Almighty God, and most merciful Father, Who commanded the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice unto You, that thereby they might glorify and praise You for Your protection both night and day, receive Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to You; I yield to You humble and hearty thanks for You have preserved me from the danger of the night past, and brought me to the light of this day, and the comforts thereof, a day which I consecrate to Your service and for Your honor. Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of Your day, that I might not do my own works, but wait on You, and may I dismiss any other weighty duties requiring my attention and focus on doing Your will and not my own. You are a pure and holy God and will sanctify all who draw near to You; I know You do not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread lightly in Your courts, therefore, pardon my sins, and remove them from Your presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me this prayer for the blood of Your precious Son Jesus Christ, that when I come into Your temple, and should come near Your altar, my prayers may come before You as incense; and as You would hear me calling upon You in my prayers, so give me grace to hear You calling on me in Your Word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation, and peace to the saving of my soul in the day that the Lord Jesus shall return. Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, my God, the good work for which You have sent it. Please bless my family, my friends, and be my guide this day and for ever. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.