Day 3

A Prophet Calls for Repentance



2 Chronicles 24:19, 2 Samuel 12:1-10, Isaiah 53:6, Jeremiah 35:15, Joel 2:12-13

A prophet calls for repentance. Biblical prophets often exposed the false righteousness of God’s people and revealed their desperate need for God’s mercy. When a king or a nation’s sinfulness was uncovered, the prophet would call them to repent, reminding them of the nearness and kindness of God.

 

God’s prophets in the Old Testament didn’t just predict the future, they often called people to repentance as well. Our actions now and what happens in the future are tied to each other.

If you could see into the future, would you want to know what it holds? When I was younger, I would have said yes to this question without hesitation. But the older I get, the more I understand that much of what happens in the future will be the consequences of things—decisions, lucky breaks, hard work, failures, relational dynamics, and many things beyond my control.

If someone told me I will become a millionaire ten years from now, I would have to wonder how that would happen. Would it be through ill-gotten gain? Would I lose relationships along the way, as so many money-driven people seem to? Would the wealth consume me and make me mean? Distrusting? Blind to the needs around me? What would I have to repent of?

Futures don’t just happen. They are, in many ways, built. For this reason, when Old Testament prophets foretold the future, their prophecies often came with a rebuke and a call to repent. The troubles coming Israel’s way were often troubles of their own making. It was the prophet’s job to name sin (2 Samuel 12:1-15) and call the people to repent (2 Chronicles 24:19).

As they did this, the prophets exposed the false righteousness of God’s people and revealed their desperate need for God’s mercy. When a king’s or nation’s sinfulness was uncovered, the prophet would call them to repent, reminding them of the nearness and kindness of God. God’s rebuke always came with the offer of redemption (Isaiah 53:6). A call to repent was a call to return to God (Jeremiah 35:15) with the assurance that God would not turn the offending party away (Joel 2:12-13).

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus highlight just how joined together our present guilt and future hope are. God’s Old Testament prophets were often treated with scorn for their blunt and judgmental words, but the judgment was not theirs. It was God’s. May God spare us from ever scorning His rebuke, because in that rebuke is a call to repent, and in that call to repent is an offer to be reconciled. If God didn’t care about us, He would not rebuke us. And if God wasn’t committed to dealing with our sin, He wouldn’t have sent His prophets to point it out. And neither would He have sent Christ to atone for it.

But He did.

Hear the call to repent as an invitation to draw near to the heart of God, knowing that He receives our repentance with compassion.

Written By Russ Ramsey 

Post Comments (14)

14 thoughts on "A Prophet Calls for Repentance"

  1. Ken Fuller says:

    The Prophet, Jesus, calls for us to believe in Him. This was understood to come by way of repentance (John’s baptism) and a turning around from the direction we are going. Seizing it this way, there is a constant need to “walk by faith”” as we follow Jesus. I pray that each day I am more able to lay aside those hard sins and walk after Him.

  2. Matt Bruns says:

    “Futures don’t just happen. They are, in many ways, built. For this reason, when Old Testament prophets foretold the future, their prophecies often came with a rebuke and a call to repent. The troubles coming Israel’s way were often troubles of their own making. It was the prophet’s job to name sin (2 Samuel 12:1-15) and call the people to repent (2 Chronicles 24:19).”

    I’ve never thought about how my mistakes/sinful decisions are also building and shaping my future. It’s as if the house I am building that is my life will some beautiful architecture and some shoddy construction.
    Repentance offers me the opportunity to improve upon the places where I’ve not put things together so well. The master-builder can check behind me and improve the condition of things.

    “if God wasn’t committed to dealing with our sin, He wouldn’t have sent His prophets to point it out. And neither would He have sent Christ to atone for it.”

    God is committed to me. He’s got “skin in the game”. Jesus is the stake, the ante. He’s the proof that he’s on our side.

  3. Scott Schulman says:

    I need to run to the Lord because he is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. God is a loving, compassionate God. He is not vindictive or hateful. He is love. He must punish sin because he is holy, but he wants so badly for me to run to him so he can show me his mercy. I am so thankful we serve this God.

  4. Josh says:

    Being aware of my sin is a gift of the grace of God. How much worse would it be for Israel and David and all these people if God had not warned them and encouraged them to repent.

    When I am least aware of my sin is when I am most in danger of slipping away from God. I must see myself for what I am, a sinner who alone is hopeless and wicked and who turns to his own way. A sheep that has gone astray. But I must then see Jesus for who he is, a lamb slain for me, whiter than show, to take all my iniquity. To take it on himself, that I might have a record as clean as his fleece, that dazzles.

  5. Ethan Pyle says:

    If anyone’s heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, it’s mine. But the fact that god cares enough to confront me about my sin is infinitely comforting. He wants what’s best for me, and what’s best for me is that I get rid of the sin in my life.

    Thank you, God, for showing me my sin, even when the revelation comes because of difficulties and trials. Your refining fire is always worth it. Now, teach me how to grow out of these sins and into an attitude of grace and a life of victory.

  6. Tanner says:

    It is so true that my future has been built up over time with mistakes, triumphs, wins, and losses, but I think that the reminder is that God loves through all of that.

    God loves both the rich and the poor, the mistaken and the humble. I am still reminded right now that “Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” I am a sinner and I am saved by Jesus, the lamb of God who was slain upon behalf of the world and on my own behalf.

    Praise our God, Jesus Christ the King.

  7. Andrew says:

    Today’s devo just rocked me…
    Where to start. It makes me realize how much I have and how grateful I am to live where we live. But also convicted, because sometimes I compare what I have to the mass wealth in this world. But the truth is I truly have been blessed with so much. The same goes spiritually. I’m spiritually rich, not of my own wealth, but because I’ve inherited it from HIM….

    “Would the wealth consume me and make me mean? Distrusting? Blind to the needs around me?”

    I don’t look around enough. I don’t see the need enough. Is it pride, probably. I cannot afford to be selfish. I have far to much to just stand by and do nothing. There is too much need. And HE is perfect in every way, and HE satisfies all need, hungers, thirsts…

  8. Justin says:

    Thanks be to God for drawing us back into His fold. For sending Christ to atone for our rebellious ways. May we not look upon His righteous rebukes as content, but as his gracious nudge to draw us closer to his loving arms.
    Why does it seem so hard to understand in the moment of rebuke that it is only his defining Spirit that is at work. Lord my prayer is that you would make me attentive to your working hand and be made aware of the finish. Let my eyes be set upon the promised resting place for my soul and eager to meet you there.

  9. Ryan says:

    “Even now” – return to God. “Even now” suggests to me that even on the heels of rebelliousness towards God He invites our hearts to repent and gives us assurance that when we approach we can do so boldly because of the grace he offers. No matter what you have JUST done, turn to me now. , is how I interpret this verse in Joel. No sin is too great for God to forgive. What a reminder Joel presents us with.

  10. Anthony Stephens says:

    The fact that prophets are to call people to repentance is an awkwardly comforting thought . As Russ shared, “if God wasn’t committed to dealing with our sin, He wouldn’t have sent His prophets to point it out. And neither would He have sent Christ to atone for it.” God shows that His love is a true love, not just a warm-feeling love. He desires to get us to where we need to be – even if that is getting in our face and calling us out. With every single reprimand, there is an invitation to experience His love and grace.

  11. Jake Pitts says:

    I have made plenty of mistakes. I have even failed to confess my sin to other people. I get very confused about how to feel when I sin because I get caught in this emotional emptiness. So I attempt to say what needs to be said in prayer in order to relieve the guilt and, often, condemnation. That condemnation does not come from God. But guilt worth my humility and response does come from God.

    In the spirit of being humble and responding to the guilt I feel even now, the sin in which I engage and that I hide from others leaves me in darkness. Leaves me in emptiness. By living a life of obedience to Christ I can live in the light and be unashamed of every moment of my life. I will still make mistakes. But I will make those mistakes believing and living for the one who represents both my guilt without a savior and my hope because I have a savior.

  12. Johnsan says:

    We’re so blessed that God doesn’t say, that’s it, I’ve had enough of you. You had your chance and you missed it. No more!

    No matter what we’ve done, he calls us back. Yes he shows us what we’ve done and calls us to repent, but he is there with open arms.

  13. Derek McVey says:

    I find it interesting that Joel would say, “Rend your hearts and not your garments.” Rending a garment was an expression of deep anguish, hurt, frustration, or anger. Ciaphas rent his garment when Jesus said, “I am the Son of God.” Ciaphas was showing an outward expression of anger that Jesus had supposedly (as we know, he did not) blasphemed. He was rending the outside over what he believed, but if he really wanted to know God glory and plan.. he would have rent his heart. Jesus was standing there in front of him. God in the flesh was there. Jesus said, “You make clean the outside of the cup, but the inside is dirty.” What Joel was saying is that its not enough to just outwardly show our pain or express our anguish over what we did. We must also rend our hearts. We have to become truly broken about our sins. We have to shine a light on every corner of our lives until everything is in the open and when it does come into the open… we repent with our whole heart. We come back to God. I’m thankful that God gave us a way to come back to Him. We don’t need blood of goats and rams. We have the ultimate Passover Lamb. He is our way. When we diligently seek Him, He will give Himself fully. When we hunger and thirst after righteousness, He will give Himself fully. Those things, however, require that we rend our hearts over our sins and truly repent. Not just outwardly do so.

  14. Conor Barry says:

    After reading today, the radical truth of God’s patient mercy and grace is the thing that’s blowing my mind.

    Jeremiah 35:15 reveals that God is persistent in His attempt to convict our hearts and lead us back to His fold. He doesn’t owe us any of it, not even the effort of finding us. And yet He persistently pursues us, not just the first time we stray but EVERY TIME we stray. And when He finally does change our hearts and leads us back, we aren’t met by Him with anger or harsh punishment but instead mercy, grace and abounding steadfast love (Joel 2:13).

    Our lives are the prodigal son on repeat time and time again because repentance is a daily discipline. We have such a confidence that we will be met with open arms because of Christ.

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