All through the book of Deuteronomy, a key theme appears: obey the Lord and be blessed, disobey and you will suffer the consequences. It’s no different in the New Testament. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” ( Galatians 6.7-8, NKJV).
Unfortunately, at least after the Fall, sin seems as easy and as natural as breathing. And despite all the warnings and promises — “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off” (Deuteronomy 30:11) — many of the people did precisely that: they fell into the sins that God had warned them about.
And yet, even then, God was willing to take them back if, using their free will, free choice, they repented and returned to Him.
Read again Deuteronomy 30:1-10. What is the Lord saying He will do for His people, despite all the wrong that they have done? What, though, was the condition upon which these wonderful promises rested?
The idea is simple and straightforward: if you mess up, terrible consequences will result for you and your family. That’s what sin does. However, even then, you can repent, and the Lord will take you back and bless you.
Numerous times the same Hebrew root word behind teshuvah appears in these verses. In Deuteronomy 30:2, the text says “and you return to the LORD your God” (NKJV, emphasis supplied); in Deuteronomy 30:8, though it is often translated, and correctly so, “you will again obey the voice of the LORD,” it could be translated literally, “And you return and obey the voice of the Lord.” Finally, in Deuteronomy 30:10, where it reads “and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,” again the word “turn” is really “return.”
In other words, despite all that happened to them, despite their utter violation and breaking of the covenant, the Lord was not through with these people, and if they didn’t want Him to be through with them, they could manifest that desire by repentance.
|Though dealing with the nation as a whole, how do these texts, despite the different context from us today, still reflect the reality of how central true repentance is to us as believers who, at times, violate the covenant we have made with God, as well?|