We all desire to live a life without regrets. Sometimes, I have gotten the impression that regretting anything in life is a sin, because “God works out everything for good.” Yet, to be realistic, I often do regret things I have done in the past.
Isaiah was not afraid to verbalize God’s regrets regarding the children of Israel. “IF ONLY,” he cried out (Is 48:18). “If only you had paid attention to my (God’s) commands.” He then lists five ‘would haves’ — things that Israel could have enjoyed, but did not because of disobedience.
In the reading today, we continued the classic rollercoaster ride of Israel’s history through dark days under the leadership of godless kings. My heart also echoes, “If only.” Did they realize how much they were giving up, how much heritage they were throwing away, how large a price had been paid to get them to their current status? There were God-fearing leaders now and then: Hezekiah, Josiah, Amaziah, Amariah, Jehoshaphat. But kings and prophets alike were very ‘back and forth’ between good (which the prophets rejoiced over) and evil (which the prophets in turn condemned).
As Josiah despaired when he heard the book of the Law, so we can easily despair upon hearing all of God’s expectations for us. Just as King David, we hold this consolation: “Only acknolwedge your guilt” because “I am merciful; I will not be angry forever” (Jer 3:13).
Ours, then, is to come in humble repentance. God IS merciful.
Am I paying full attention to God? Am I striving, by His grace, to live a life without regrets?
Bible Trivia Day Seven: What do those who make wooden idols do with other parts of the pieces of wood used for making those idols?