Return!

returns-2014

Once King Hezekiah decided to initiate a series of reforms in Judah, rejecting the errors of his father and restoring worship according to the law, he determined to have Judah keep the Passover as well (2 Chr. 30:1-5). However, he did not consider it enough for him to decide this himself; he wanted all of God’s people to do whatever it took to keep God’s will. Therefore, he sent people to visit throughout not only Judah, where he reigned, but in Israel as well (2 Chr. 30:6). They went with a simple message really: “return to the LORD.” However, as the text demonstrates, returning to the LORD is not only a matter of returning to the assembly. It is not so simple as renewing acquaintances in the congregation. It is not as routine as coming forward. The LORD cares deeply and wants people to return to Him, but He also requires us to travel the right pathway back and to leave the baggage behind that we accumulated during our wandering.

If you are ready to return to the LORD, humble yourselves before Him and do not allow pride to get in the way (2 Chr. 30:11; Jas. 4:10). Returning to the LORD means coming back as a servant to obey Him—not as an agent attempting to make a bargain (2 Chr. 30:12; Heb. 5:8-9). To return to God is to return to serve Him, to give up personal direction in order to accept His direction (2 Chr. 30:8b; Rom. 12:1-2). If you really want to return to the LORD, come prepared to confess your sins (2 Chr. 30:22; 1 Jn. 1:9). God already knows them all, and others know many. So do not hold back. Acknowledge where you have been that you might return to where you ought to be. When you return to the LORD without reservation, you can then worship Him with your whole being, and He will accept your presence before His throne (2 Chr. 30:24-27; Jn. 4:24). Oh, it will be difficult at times. You may have to accept that loved ones, past or present, are in sin (2 Chr. 30:7; Lk. 14:26). You may have to start all over and let down your defenses (2 Chr. 30:8;Jn. 17:17). You will need to learn to sorrow for your sin instead of mocking God’s will (2 Chr. 30:10; Gal. 6:7). But it will all be worth it.

Returning to the LORD requires returning your heart to the LORD. And it is beautiful, because when you return to the LORD, He will return to you (Jas. 4:8). Then, and only then, you can fully enjoy the compassion and mercy of the LORD (2 Chr. 30:9; 2 Pet. 3:9). So, dear lost soul, please prepare your heart to seek the LORD (2 Chr. 30:19; Mt. 6:33), for in doing so, you will find the joy you seek (2 Chr. 30:21, 23; Phil. 4:4).

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