Suffering leads to repentance
Friends, I believe we are at the point that Israel was when Solomon beseeched the Lord on behalf of the people. The message from God to Israel right before verse 14 was this. “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people’. Yes, God, the Almighty, does, in fact, withhold basic needs and allow suffering in order for his people to repent and turn back to him. Don’t all well-meaning, loving parents do the same to their children to help them change their disobedient actions?
This in no way means that God is not loving and does not have the best interest of his people. Same with parents. As I look out over the landscape of Dallas, it’s surrounding cities, the state of Texas, across America and now across the world, I am struck by the disobedience, selfishness, and even evil that is present. God will not be mocked. He is patient, willing that no one would perish without salvation. His Son proved how far God would go to save his creation, us.
Take God seriously
‘No rain, locusts and pestilence’ don’t compare to the cross of Jesus. As we live out our lives today, I submit we need to take God serious, to fear him in order to properly obey and serve him. He means what he says, and it is born out of love; Godly, sacrificial, unconditional love. My challenge to me and you is this. Be sober about your relationship with the Lord, examine areas of hidden faults or presumptuous sins. Be honest, and be about repenting. Repentance is ‘changing your mind’ about areas of your life in order to become aligned with God’s truth.