I like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and I know that it is not everyone’s cup of tea but I like the sport of fighting. There is a particular fighter named Jon Jones who is a phenom in the sport and has smashed all competitors that came his way but he couldn’t defeat his greatest opponent, himself.
Despite the otherworldly talent, he has a lot of deep character issues that caused him to be in trouble with people and the law. There was a particular podcast that I was listening to while I was driving and the podcaster said that modern society loves to see the people on top fall from grace. In the age of social media and internet anonymity, people can hide behind a keyboard and false name to spew out hate on anything imaginable and when this champion fell from grace, oh did the hate come in!
BUT that was not what caught my attention because the statement after that was the reflection on this society that loves the fall of champions but also loves to support the rise of champions from the ashes. As much as people jump on the failures of others, people especially love to support those who have been beaten by the humble stick, turn from their ways, and make a roaring comeback as a new person.
In that process, we as people are drawn to it because I believe we are inherently built with the heart to to be attracted to restoration and restoration of brokenness is one of the key things that God is after.
God is calling out Judah and Israel again but in the midst of His calling out of the people for their rebellion and brokenness we see a shift in the voice of God to that of a caring God who ultimately wants to see His people return to Him.
Go proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever.
Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD;
Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD; For I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family and I will bring you to Zion.
This is God’s default posture in that His desire is not to destroy but for His people to return to where they belong.
Yet His call for you to RETURN has conditions…
Acknowledge your guilt, rebellion and failure to obey the voice of God which ultimately ties into the fact that we have forgotten that God is our MASTER. He calls the Israelites to come back to Him who is their master and it was the failure to see God as their master that put them in this position. Failure to see God as master leads to sin but when we return and still fail to see this then we will only be going through cycles of sin, feel sorry, feel good, and sin.
Faithless Israel→ Faithless Children
God in the beginning calls them “faithless Israel” but towards the end He shifts their name from Israel to children. God exposes you but He exposes you to remind you where your character is not in alignment to your identity. God still calls them out as being faithless but the shift in Israel to children was to remind them of who they truly are when they decided to be His people a long time ago. When we are failing in our character and behavior, God in His love exposes us so that we do not continue to act out of character but be who we truly are and that is children of God.
Today let us return not as faithless sinners that will continue in the path that we have been going on but in the midst of the return, remind ourselves that in Him we are saints that are children of God. Today return with your heart and continue to meditate on the desire that God will give us a heart to know Him and be dedicated to Him!