I was walking and praying about my next post and the Lord reminded me that He is a God of second (and third and fourth and....) chances and then I stumbled onto this awesome blog! I have been reading Lee Strobel's questions (in The Case for Faith) about God's wrath in the Old Testament - it's hard to understand why He allowed such brutal things to occur. But when we realize how long He waits for people to turn to Him and how eager He is for us to repent, His retribution is balanced with His love and patience.
In Jeremiah's time, the Lord continually spoke through His prophets and pleaded with the people to turn back to God. It's amazing for me to realize that God's requests were very simple: He required that they worship God alone first of all and He asked that they treat each other with kindness. Don't you think the people of Israel could have done that? Again and again He warned them of the consequences of disobedience but they ignored Him and continued on the path to their own destruction. When the king realized that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was going to invade his land, he actually had the audacity to pray for God's protection! God denied His request because the king had no desire to make a new beginning, but only to live his sinful life with God's approval.
Sometimes we're like that too - we want God to take care of us but we don't want Him to make any demands on our lives. God was pleased to relent when the Ninevites repented and His blessings (instead of curses) were therefore poured out upon the people. Yes, He's a God of second chances and He's waiting for us to repent and turn to Him but are we ready to make a new beginning?
I don't know about you, but I know that I am ready for a fresh start and I'm encouraged to know that God is too. I want to start this school year off with a new perspective on ministry, family and personal growth. I desire to repent of selfishness and live a life of holy surrender to the Lord. But most importantly, I long to be a woman whose heart is always following Jesus and living in obedience to His call. May this be a year of fresh starts for you as well.