We all know that there are consequences to our decisions and actions, good and bad. Sometimes we can turn from a bad decision and come out of it unscathed and sometimes it takes a long time before the consequences of our actions can be overcome. I think of this as I come to the end of Deuteronomy where Moses is recapping God's words regarding His promises for Israel - blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (Deut. 28). God is faithful is in His promises, isn't He? As I think back on my own life and the decisions I've made at times, He has blessed me and cursed me rightly as well.
However, again I see the longsuffering of God and in it the love He has for His children - the nation of Israel and for you and for me. In Deuteronomy 30:1-4, we see again the "second chance" God gives to those who return to Him:
Deut. 30:1 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. (NIV)
He will bring us back. No matter where we've been. Isn't that incredible? God will change our hearts to make us love Him. It may be painful, but the change will be worth it.
The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and that hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. (Deut. 30:6)
Think about that for a minute. God will figuratively cut away the outer part of our hearts so that He can get inside and work on us deeply. He works to change us through prayer and His word.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (NKJV)
Yes indeed, the words of God have a way of penetrating even the hardest of hearts, impacting them for good. However, we must be reading our bibles for the most change to take affect.
Questions to ponder:
1) How is my quiet time with God? Is it something I just check off of my "to do" list or am I really thinking about how I can apply the bible passages I read to my life?
2) Am I spending enough time with God so that He can make an impact on me, renewing my mind day by day?
3) When was the last time I memorized scripture so that it could cut deep into my heart?