Summary: No matter what the era of human history, God responds to the repentant heart.
A God Who Cannot Resist Repentance
1. I used to enjoy the old "Where's the Beef?" commercial.
2. Everyone, it seems, knows a "where's the beef" type of lady.
3. Germany has them, too:
BERLIN (Reuters) - A feisty 90-year-old German woman chased away three would-be burglars from her rural farmhouse with her cane, police said on Monday.
The retired farmer was moving around her house with the help of a walking frame and spotted the intruders -- two men and one woman.
She grabbed her cane and started beating the burglars with it. The trio fled the house in a town outside Muenster.
"It was quite courageous of her," a police spokeswoman said. "But on the other hand it was also quite dangerous. She was quite fortunate that nothing serious happened."
4. Tough little old ladies are universal; human nature is human nature.
5. God is also the same God; most modern Jews have missed their Messiah, but they have picked up on the fact that our God is a God who is moved by repentance. The Jewish term for this is "teshuvah." Every devout Jew knows the word and the concept. The "shuvah" part of the word mean to return, a good definition of repentance.
Main Idea: No matter what the era of human history, God responds to the repentant heart.
I. What Israel Will Do and What We Must Do: REPENT (1-3)
A. RETURN to the Lord (1, 2b)
1. To return, we must first realize we have left.
2. Sin is our downfall; sin makes us stumble. The pleasures of sin and the lust for control or self-determination is a strong lure, but miserable in the long term.
B. Take WORDS (2a)
1. God wants our words; we read His word, we worship Him with words…
2. The Old Covenant had not sacrifice for intentional, high-handed sin. The sinner could only plead God's mercy and grace, as we see in Psalm 51:14-17
3. "Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."
C. Ask FORGIVENESS (2c)
1. Some: so much personal psychology that they cannot ask forgiveness
2. Christians should be very comfortable with asking for forgiveness
3. Luke 24:46-47–the repentance that saves is coupled with faith in Jesus…
D. WORSHIP Yahweh (2d)
1. " that we may offer the fruit of our lips…" literally, "with our confession as with young bulls"
2. Hebrews 13:15 is probably a Midrash on this verse: "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."
3. The writer to the Hebrews defines the "sacrifice of praise" as "the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."
4. In I Timothy 4:4-5, Paul even implies that a prayer of thanksgiving – along with the Word – has a cleansing effect on food, making it ritually clean in a sense.
"For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer."
E. Replace FAITH in men with faith in God (3a)
1. Some of us have faith in our bank account, our skills or looks or personality
2. The Titanic: Even God cannot sink this ship
F. Completely forsake manmade RELIGION (3b)
1. Man-made religion is making a comeback in the evangelical world
2. We have to choose between the pure faith of the Bible and the accumulated traditions of men… traditions not ALWAYS bad, but even good can displace…
G. Recognize God's COMPASSION (3c)
• Many of us think of God as grudgingly being compassionate…but he loves it!
• Yet our attitudes can inhibit God's compassion (he wants repentance)
• Sometimes we want the compassion without the repentance (permissiveness)
No matter what the era of human history, God responds to the repentant heart.
II. What God Will Do for REPENTANT Israel and For Us (4-9)
A. HEAL our waywardness (4a)
1. Sin not only needs to be forgiven, but healed (addiction)
2. Sin not only is a violation of God's Word, it leaves a scar on us
3. Have you seen someone after a bad accident? Residual effects…
B. Freely LOVE us (4b)
In 9:15, the Lord says he will no longer love his people Israel; here, he looks forward to a time when he will love them without reservation.