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Return to the Lord and Obey

“… 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” (Deut. 30:2-3).
In the last verse of Deuteronomy 29, Moses wrote “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (v. 29). Moses knew God had miraculously revealed secret things (knowledge) to the Israelites. Knowledge of Him. His word. His ways.
But even in this knowing, the Israelites had a choice, which leads us to chapter 30. Moses told them to remember that God had set both blessing and curse before them. He told them to return to the Lord and obey His voice with all their heart and soul. A half-hearted effort would never do. “I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7).
What happens when we return to God and obey His voice? God says He’ll restore our (spiritual) fortunes, have mercy on us, and gather us from our own scattered places. It’s not enough just to hear the word of God or even to know the word of God. Obedience is essential. Jesus said, “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them” is like a man who “dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:47-48). Unshakable. Unmovable. Return, and obey.
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Return to the Lord and Say

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the Lord; say to him, “Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips.” (Hosea 14:1-2)
The Israelites have stumbled because of their sin. Hosea tells them to ask the Lord (“take with you words”) to remove their sin and accept their sacrifice (“pay with bulls”). That they would say it; vow to return to the Lord. Again.
The Hebrew word for return means to turn back, to repent. Repentance requires humility. For Christians, we submit ourselves to the Lordship and Kingship of Jesus and ask for God’s help to turn from sin. We need the conviction of the Holy Spirit to do this, and it’s part of His holy job. “And when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
What happens when we return to God and say? In Hosea 14:7, God responds: “They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.” We hear blessing and promise in that.
So, we return and say. We confess our sin and re-commit ourselves to God. “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9).
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