walk in the word
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth” (Hosea 6:1–3, esv).
At the bottom of every page of Scripture, God could have noted, “RSVP—please respond.” From the moment our earliest ancestors hid from God in the Garden of Eden, to the amazing vision of the new heavens and the new earth at the end of Revelation, if we are watching and listening, we will hear God beckoning. Time after time He invites us to come to Him, regardless of how far we’ve wandered or how long we’ve been gone.
No matter what the distance is between you and the Lord right now, verses like Hosea 6:1 issue His surprising summons—especially to the torn and struck down—to return.
If we don’t respond to the first invitation, God admits that He might hurt us for our good. When the open door, the light left on, and all of His gracious approaches aren’t enough, those who haven’t responded have an opportunity to hear His invitation through the pain of their continued wandering. When this is the case, it’s time to RSVP immediately. “Come, let us return to the Lord,” is the response God wants to hear and the first step to spiritual revival.
Notice the invitation, “Come.” You have a choice to leave the unfulfilling path you’ve chosen. It’s a tender-hearted pleading. Doubt can give way to faith, discouragement to joy, despair to purpose and deep satisfaction, and defeat to victory. But you have to come.
And you are not alone—notice Hosea invites “us.” You may feel alone, but you’re not. Others are hearing the invitation, and when you respond, you will discover that they are responding, too. “Let us return to the Lord” is a heart cry that admits your mistake. You turned away, and right now is the time to turn back. As long as you are reading these words, it’s not too late.
Do you sense the Holy Spirit drawing you? Are you ready to make this choice? Now is not too late, but tomorrow isn’t promised. You gain nothing if you don’t begin by responding to Him.
Responding includes recognizing that some things have to change. Think about your life, and ask God to shine the light of His Word on your attitudes and activities. He will show you what is wrong.
And He will help you in repentance—in turning away from sin and toward Him. When you see by the light of His Word how you got where you are and the damage sin has caused, God will help you turn away and develop a new thought pattern. I’m wrong, God. I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I have no excuse for acting and choosing as I have. I’m unworthy, but I’m turning toward you.
Turning to the Lord is often actually re-turning. If you want to experience a fresh downpour of God’s mercy, you have to come back to the place where the water flowed previously. This is not just an emotional response and a change of mind; it’s also an exertion of your will to get moving again in the right direction. Invite the Lord to listen in on your thoughts as you identify specific sins you’re leaving behind. Plan to turn away from opportunities to sin. Replace habits that involve putting yourself in tempting situations with healthy alternatives.
These positive steps will put distance between you and past sin and move you in a new direction. You’ll be returning to the Lord. And every time you make a choice that honors Him, you’re deepening your commitment to “live before Him.”
Father, it’s so easy to let sin creep up and take root in my life. Please grant me the gift of repentance, and give me a spirit sensitive to Your convicting, restoring voice. Help me to genuinely turn away from the sin You reveal to me, and let me humbly press on to know You more. Thank You for the gift of Your Son, who makes this possible. In His great name I pray, amen.
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