“I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.”
Everybody has expectations, and God is no exception. When a person sins, God has expectations for the sinner to come back to Him. It does not matter what you feel you need to do to repair your relationship with God; it only matters what He wants you to do to repair your relationship with Him. Your salvation is never in jeopardy, but the quality of your fellowship with Him is affected by whether you choose to follow His expectations.
In the verse above, God reveals His expectations for the one who has sinned. Israel had been in sin for a long time, and God sent His prophets to prophesy so they would come back to Him. In this verse, God shows what He wanted Israel to do so they could reclaim His blessings on their lives. Let me share these expectations with you.
First, God expects you to have a tendency to listen. The verse above says, “…but ye have not inclined your ear…” The word “inclined” means to be prone to do something. God wants the believer to be prone to listening to His Word and His preachers. You should never listen to the preaching of God’s Word with the attitude that it doesn’t matter what is said; rather, you should listen with the attitude that you want to hear what God wants you to do so you can change your ways.
Second, God expects you to respond. The verse above continues to say, “… nor hearkened unto me.” Hearkening is responding. A preacher preaches for the believer to respond; sadly, many believers don’t want to respond because they’re afraid of what people are going to think about them. Always have the expectation that God is going to speak to you, and always anticipate you will respond to His voice at the altar call.
Third, God expects you to put into action. The verse above says, “Return ye now every man from his evil way…” God cannot bless you until you choose to come back to Him. The fact that God tells you to return means that you are the one who has left Him. To choose to continue to do what you know is wrong to do is to choose to rebel. Having the attitude that it doesn’t matter what anyone says because you are going to continue doing what you are doing is nothing short of rebellion, and God will judge rebellion.
Fourth, God expects you to change your ways. The verse above also says, “…and amend your doings…” You will never get right with God by doing the same actions that brought you into sin. Something has to change! If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep failing in the area of sin of where you always fail. You must be willing to change your actions if you are going to come back to God.
Finally, let me point out that nowhere does God specify that you must feel that He has forgiven you for you to be forgiven. God’s forgiveness is not dependent upon how you feel, but on the fact that He said He would forgive if you would change your ways. Stop beating yourself up over what you have done if you have repented. God rewards action over feelings. If you have changed your ways, you can be assured He has forgiven you.