I am so male. I have this basic male problem. I don’t ask for directions, I don’t use a map unless it is entirely necessary, and I refuse to buy a GPS. I always have my driving plans figured out, and I know where I am going. And like most males, I have had times when I was cruisin’ down the highway, listening to tunes, minding my own business, and my wife looked over at me with this disgusted look and says, “Um honey. That ramp you just passed was your exit.” On the inside I know she is laughing at me, Mr. know-it-all.
Well, I am left with two choices at that point in time. I can rely on my own choice and keep going the same direction, and give some lame explanation as to how I know a short-cut or am taking the scenic route, while all the while scrambling to try to save face. Or I can listen to my wife, find the next exit, turn around and go back the way I am supposed to go. If I try to do it my way, I will end up somewhere that I don’t want to be. But if I listen to Heidi, then I have to humble myself, admit I was wrong, and turn around. Some things I need to remember when I am going the wrong way on the highway. First, I have to actually admit that Heidi was right, and I was going the wrong direction. Second, admitting I am going the wrong direction, without turning around accomplishes me nothing. Third, I have to make a decision to turn from going the wrong way, and turn towards the right way, taking the correct exit.
The Bible has a word for this kind of action, Repent. The word repent means to change direction, to turn around and leave the direction you were going and begin going the direction God wants, they way of the Gospel and faith in Jesus. Some concepts we need to remember about repentance. First of all, you have to admit your sin is the wrong direction. Second, admitting you are going in the wrong way without turning around accomplishes you nothing. Third, you have to make a decision to turn from going the wrong way (sinful choices and idolatry), and turn towards the right way (pursuing Jesus and living for His glory).
This story is an example of repentance. The Israelites had been worshiping other gods. God allowed them to be captured and oppressed because of their sin. So the people cried out to God. They realized they were going in the wrong direction, but they didn’t really want to turn around. God’s response is in verse 14, “Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble.”
Then three things happened in verses 15-16. First, they acknowledged they had sinned, that they were going the wrong direction. Second, they realized that if God was going to rescue them, they could not continue on the road they were on. They said, “Lord… Do with us whatever You think best.” Third, they turned around. “Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord.”
Are you going the wrong direction? Are there areas of sin in your life that you need to turn from? Are you following the road that leads you to the Gospel and deep faith in Jesus? If not, you might want to turn around.