"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely." Hosea 14:4
When the Israelites repented of their sins, God forgave them--more than forgave them.
I wondered when I first read this verse why the word healed. After all, it's not the usual word you use with backsliding.
Why not forgive, or forget, or overlook?
How can anyone heal backsliding?
No one can.
No one can heal mistakes, failures, sins, much as we wish we could.
But God can. He is all powerful; and if He's said He will heal our backsliding, He can--and He will.
I felt humbly in awe when the full meaning of 'heal their backsliding' hit me.
Lord--can You really, will You really do this?Undo all my mistakes, failures, sins--as if they weren't there?Can I hope for something as amazing and miraculous as that? I've made so many bad choices. There are so many tragic consequences that follow when I backslide. Can You really erase all that, as it were?
Heal. No more feeling as if I ruined my life irrevocably. No more ceaseless, hopeless regret and shame and guilt.
And not only that; He will 'love us freely'.
God loves us. Most of us know that phrase. But consider that, after considering all that He has seen and known--which is everything--of our backsliding. And freely at that! Without even the least shadow of resentment, dissatisfaction, reluctance, or a grudge that we took so long to repent. As if we had never failed Him and sinned against Him--as if we were coming to Him for the first time in repentance, not the hundredth time. I couldn't do that. If I were ever in God's place, in a relationship like the one I have with Him, I would be cynical and grudging and dubious, and I couldn't continue to forgive, much less love, freely.
He will heal our backsliding, and He will love us freely. What keeps us from repenting, when it means returning to such a good God.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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