God Won't Turn Us Away
"The Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him." (2 Chronicles 30:9)
It’s amazing how we hesitate to ask someone for something when we think their answer will be "no." We put it off, make excuses, convince ourselves we’ll manage – anything but go and ask, just in case we don’t get the answer we want. Of course, the answer might turn out to be "yes!" But we never find out because we never ask. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be like that with God. We are never left wondering what his answer might be if we return to Him. Like the father of the prodigal son, He is always ready to welcome us back, and will never saying "no" to those who come.
The trouble is, we become convinced his answer is bound to be "no," because that’s the answer we would probably give! We convince ourselves we have sinned too badly or have committed that particular sin just once too often or have drifted away for just far too long. But at such times, our fearful hearts need to listen to the truth of God’s word, not the lies of the devil. For in his word lies assurance that he will welcome us back; an assurance that is based on three things.
First, God’s character. God has revealed Himself as gracious and compassionate – always! In Nehemiah’s days, God’s people were in desperate need of coming back to God; and what their leaders recalled at that time was, "You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love" (Nehemiah 9:17). Second, God’s heart – a heart that wants everyone to know him. Paul reminded Timothy that "God our Savior … desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:3-4, NASB). Third, God’s patience. Unlike us, he is patient in his dealings with people. As Peter put it, "God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost" (2 Peter 3:9, CEV).
This, then, is our confidence that God will receive us and never turn us away! – no matter what we have done or how far we may have drifted.
‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …’ (Hebrews 3:15)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont