I was reading today in Deuteronomy 4. Moses is telling the children of Israel to be sure to follow the commandments of the Lord. He tells them to keep themselves from corruption and not forget all the things the Lord had done. (4:9, 15-16, 23) He says that "the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God." (4:24) He goes on to say that the Lord will be angry if they corrupt themselves and make graven images. He says the Lord will "destroy" and "scatter" them who provoke him to anger by serving other gods. Then we come to verses 29-31..."But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them."
I am an epic failure at the Christian life. I really am. Only God knows the depths of my stupidity and wickedness. And I tell him over and over and over that I'm gonna do better; that I'm gonna stop _______. Or I'm gonna start _______. And it has come to my attention a lot recently how often I go back on the things I promise the Lord. I corrupt myself. I forget God. I serve myself and the world instead of truly serving him. So then I start to think "I can't pray...I have no right to talk to God. It feels wrong to even open my Bible after how I acted yesterday and the things I said today. After those wrong thoughts I had, why would God hear me?"
I could never ever deserve God's forgiveness, love, or attention. But there is no need to feel discouraged and give up. God says if I return and seek him with my whole heart and ask for forgiveness, he will hear and will take me back. I am SO thankful for his mercies. He is such a merciful, forgiving God. I don't deserve to even speak to him. I have so often pushed him to the side in order to serve myself, forgetting all the things he's done for me. And because of my unfaithfulness, I get myself into a mess. Then I realize I've slipped again and I call out to him. Each time with more guilt because of my continual failings. You would think God would just get tired of it. Tired of us ignoring him until we're in tribulation and then asking for help.
It is with tears that I write this:
"Nevertheless for Thy great mercies sake Thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them, for Thou art a gracious and merciful God."- Nehemiah 9:31
"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not." Lamentations 3:22
"To the LORD our God belong mercies and forgiveness though we have rebelled against him." Daniel 9:9
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Ephesians 1:7
God is so good. Why does this not drive me more to serve him whole heartedly. Instead I give him half efforts and a lazy attitude. I decide to do, say, listen to, and watch whatever I want instead of listening to him. He has saved me in so many ways. And I just keep sinning. It's sad. It breaks my heart.........
And then I have to smile through the tears and thank God for his mercy. He shows us through his word and through the blessings he gives us how great his mercies are. As Paul said, this grace and mercy should not be a pass to sin more but a push to sin less.
If you want a really beautiful picture of how forgiving God is to people who just keep sinning, check out a couple of my favorite Psalms... Psalm 78 and Psalm 89. When we are truly broken over our sin and ask for forgiveness, he is faithful to forgive. There is just nothing else to say but "What a good God."
"God's mercy is so great that you would sooner drain the sea of its water, deprive the sun of its light, or make space too narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God." C.H. Spurgeon