Read: Lamentations 3:37-50
Let us test and examine our ways. (v. 40)
The Hebrew verb often translated “repent” means, literally, “to turn” or “to return.” Repentance, in other words, isn’t simply a change of heart and mind; it’s a radical change in direction.
By the time of the exile, the Israelites had spent centuries running from God. They plunged so deep into their sin that infidelity and idolatry had become instinct. God’s people were so out of touch with God that they no longer knew the difference between good and evil—which is the default state of the human heart without God. In Jeremiah 17:9 the prophet observes, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.”
Humanity’s only hope is to be forced to examine our ways. God used the exile to stop his people in their tracks. God uses other disruptive circumstances in our lives to get our attention and invite our reflection. Such disruptions are not punishment. Remember, God spent his punishment at the cross of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:1). True punishment would be for God to let us go, allowing us to pursue life without him. Life without God is no life at all. Through Isaiah, God beckons us with these words: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isa. 30:15 NIV).
If you’re experiencing difficulty or disruption, stop and examine your ways. Are you trying to live by your own strength? Are you ignoring God’s best way for your life? God wants nothing more than the abundant, eternal life secured for us by the Savior. Turn and return to him.
As you pray, ask God to lead you back to himself.