In Deuteronomy, God had been insulted and rejected repeatedly by the people He loved. Every instruction He gave was met with obstinance and criticism. Every rule He implemented was forsaken in the heat of momentary desire. Although God had led them and guarded them carefully, they gravitated to the idol worship of the heathen nations. Still, He offered them the inheritance He’d promised to give Abraham’s descendants.
On the precipice of entering the Promised Land, God unfolded His wonderful plan for those who would obey His commands: they would receive glorious blessing in every area of their lives. Their bodies would be healthy. Their land would be prosperous. Their homes would be blessed. Their battles would be won. Their children would flourish. On and on the blessings would be poured out upon them and upon their posterity. On the other hand, if they forsook the commands of God, curses would be heaped upon them and their posterity. Their land would fail to bear fruit. Sickness and plague would invade their bodies. Destruction would descend upon their homes and possessions. Their descendants would know the rebuke of God. This seems reasonable. Honor God; experience favor. Depart from God; receive what your idols provide.
Then, God adds an interesting twist to this discourse. He states matter-of-factly that they will, indeed, walk away from Him. They will reject Him, mock His name, defile themselves with the gods of the nations, ignore Him, hate and forsake His law, and hurl His commands back in His face. They will choose the devil over the Divine. But after all these ugly, spiteful actions, after their rebellion, after choosing to be in league with His enemy, if they will turn back to Him, He assures them that He will rejoice over them. Rejoice. He promises to delight in giving them the abundance He offered at the onset of their entering the land, what He had said was available to those who loved and served Him.
Did you get that? Not just that He would give the blessing, but the way He promised to give it. He would REJOICE and DELIGHT. He wouldn’t respond in hesitation. He would fling His arms wide and accept their return. EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW THEIR RESPONSE WOULD NOT BE A PERMANENT ONE, God promised to treat them AS IF they would never go back to their rebellious ways. He would bless them AS IF they were fully devoted. AS IF they were committed to the covenant. Even though He knew the cycle of sin-repent-sin would always be their nature, He would extend total forgiveness and total relationship restoration each time they repented. Each time they turned toward Him, He would erase the past and offer His trust to them again.
Doesn’t He do the same for us? Throwing our sins into the sea of forgetfulness? Covering our shame with His own blood? Tucking us beneath His robe of righteousness so that there lingers no evidence of our sinful state? He doesn’t keep us at arm’s length expecting us to earn His trust.
When we fail to understand just how deep and rich God’s love is for us, we need only to look at His forgiveness, at His loving abandon in response to our turning. How immeasurable is His commitment to us. How He yearns to do for us. How eager He is to lavish His abundance upon us. We underestimate Him. We reduce Him to our way of thinking, giving Him shallow thoughts that hold on to bitterness and mistrust--like we tend to do. We reject His generosity as we wallow in feelings of hopelessness, expecting to receive what we know we deserve instead of the magnificent display of generosity that He’s chosen to give. How often we repent but never fully open ourselves to the blessing that comes with that repentance.
God longs for us to experience the full measure of His love. The grandeur of His grace. The overflow of His affection that touches every facet of our lives—our health, our home, our posterity, our purpose. He longs to give us victory over our enemies and spiritual blessings that extend beyond our comprehension. We can have these things with the turning and with the taking.
Tip/tidbit: Today, take a moment to meditate on how deeply you are loved, how perfectly you are forgiven, and how much God wants to enrich your life with the sweetest of spiritual blessings.