When Microsoft launched Windows ME (Millennial Edition), the “system restore” feature caused a stir. If your computer suffered a system meltdown, you could select “system restore” and reset your computer to a point in the past. Problem solved—in theory, at least. Everything you had somehow messed up returned to the way it was at that earlier time.
God performed a “system restore” of sorts on Jehoahaz. Although the king spent many years moving away from God, the moment he “sought the Lord’s favor” (13:4) God listened to his prayer and restored him, sending a “deliverer”—probably some sort of ally who joined forces with Jehoahaz—to spare this king and his people from their enemies. Throughout Scripture, as individuals turned away from God and then returned, God stood ready to welcome them back into a relationship with him.
Have you ever watched someone you love make the decision to move away from God? Perhaps you’ve seen this individual make one bad decision after another. Not just misguided choices, but selfish and insensitive decisions that hurt you and the people around you. In turning away from God, perhaps this person veered hopelessly toward a life ruled by substance abuse, greed, sexual gratification or any number of other harmful choices. Or maybe you were the one making selfish, insensitive and harmful decisions.
It’s never too late. God isn’t concerned with how long you’ve been running away from him. When you admit your sin and pray for forgiveness, God doesn’t use the delete key and say, “Too bad. You knew the penalty for what you did.” Instead, he uses the ultimate “system restore” to welcome you back to the place you occupied in his heart before you went wandering.
To Take Away
- In what areas do you need God to perform a “system restore” in your life?
- What do you need to let go of in order to turn more fully to God?
- What steps can you take to gain a greater trust in God’s forgiveness?