Turn Around!

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“Though you are such wicked rebels, my people, come and return to the LORD.”

Isaiah 31:6

Isaiah calls Israel to “return to the Lord” even though they are “such wicked rebels.” The fact that God’s people have revolted against him does not preclude them from turning back to God.

The Hebrew verb translated here as “return” is shub (pronounced ‘shoov’). It means, literally, to go back to a place you’ve been before or to turn from one direction to another. If you’re driving down a road and realize that you’re going in the wrong direction, you’ll make a U-turn to correct your course. Ancient Hebrew would use the verb shub to describe your action.

From a spiritual point of view, shub is the core of what we call repentance. If you’re heading in the wrong direction, you might feel bad about your mistake, and you might even intend to do better next time, but neither of these captures the sense of shub. Genuine repentance from a biblical perspective involves a deliberate change of direction, leaving the wrong way and heading in the right one.

The central message of Jesus involved this sort of radical change in living. He brought good news: “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” “Repent,” as we have seen, means more than “feel sorry.” It means, “Turn around! Leave your old way of life and start to live with God as your king.”

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have there been times in your life when you made a U-turn? Literally? Spiritually? What led you to leave one way of living to follow the way of God’s kingdom?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for giving even “wicked rebels” the opportunity to turn around, leaving their sin and heading toward you. Thank you for the grace and forgiveness implied in Isaiah’s invitation to return to you. And thank you for offering me this same opportunity.

Gracious Lord, though my first act of repentance came years ago, I find that I need to turn my life around again and again. How easily I get headed down the wrong road! How easily I wander away from you! Yet, by your Spirit, you call me back, inviting me to return to you yet again. Forgive me for my wanderings. Help me to turn to you ever more faithfully each and every day. May I live with you as my true King in every facet of my life. Amen.