Return and Be Returned
Essentially, the Israelites could come out of exile and be restored to God if they repented under the Law. Under the Gospel we have an even better offer. If we repent of our sin we receive right relationship with God and eternal life in heaven.
This word of encouragement is a little longer than the last one, but I think it’s really important that this passage of Scripture be put here in whole, because it takes a concept we know very well from the New Testament, but it’s all the way back in Deuteronomy. Read what God says through Moses here in Deuteronomy 30:1-10, and then I’ll unpack it briefly;
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the cuse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
For some context, most of the book of Deuteronomy is a series of speeches given by Moses to the Israelites. They are at the end of wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and are getting ready to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Moses is encouraging and edifying them before they go into the land. Right before this passage, Moses listed a bunch of curses that will come if they can’t keep the Law, and at the end of Deuteronomy Moses basically says “hey guys, you’re not going to be able to keep the Law.” At the end of the curses is essentially a “yeah and to top all of that off, you’re going to be completely destroyed as a nation and scattered across the world. Alright, who’s in?”
But after saying all of that, Moses says this; he says that if Israel repents, with all of their heart and with all of their soul, and returns to God, God will restore them and bring them back. He will have mercy on them and it will be as if they had never sinned. Sound familiar? Because this is the gospel. Jesus Christ took the sin of all who believe on the cross and brought us back into right relationship with God.
If you repent and believe in Jesus Christ, He will have mercy on you and it will be as if you had never sinned. If you already have trusted in Jesus, you have right relationship with God and every sin you have committed or will commit has been wiped away for good. This is the best encouragement anyone could ever offer, and the point of the best story ever told.
Know that the Lord your God loves you enough to take on your sin and make you righteous in His eyes.
Grace and peace