You may have seen it, as have I… Someone who once knew the Lord, who had experienced His mercy, grace, power and provision, slip away from Him and choose the way of sin and rebellion. We refer to them as “backsliders.” Tragically, many who choose this road, don’t simply “dabble” in sinful ways – they often go “all in” to rebellious and wayward living. Sometimes their family and Christian friends shake their heads and grieve, wondering if there is any hope for them!
There is!!! I read about it this morning in my Bible during my time of “coffee with the Lord!”
The prophet Hosea, wrote about backslidden Israel and Judah (Hosea 5 & 6): “THEIR DEEDS DO NOT PERMIT THEM TO RETURN TO THEIR GOD! For ‘the spirit of whoredom’ is within them, and they know not the Lord… they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn from them! They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord!”
God speaks: “I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me!”
And then, the backslider speaks: “COME, LET US RETURN TO THE LORD! 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; and 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!”
Listen, it may seem hopeless! The backslider may appear to be too far gone in their rebellious lifestyle and sin! But God is merciful and gracious – love is the very foundation of His character! Even His discipline and distance are acts of mercy! His Spirit will be at work in their rebellious hearts! He’ll send special representatives to the backslider to urge them to return to the Lord! He has a thousand ways to work when we can’t think of one! Let me tell you, I’ve seen it happen – I’ve seen the hardest break before the Lord’s steadfast love and enduring mercy and utter those words: “I will return to the Lord! He has torn, but He will heal! He has struck down, but He will bind up! He will revive and raise me up, that I may live before Him! I will press on to know the Lord!”