Repentance (Step 3)

Mourning is a necessary part of the process of repentance. Until you’ve had your heart broken and have been crushed under the weight of your circumstances, you can’t fully appreciate the blessings of the LORD. Often times, a traumatic experience serves as a painful reminder of the past that we would like to leave behind. At some point, we will be ready to let go and the pain will begin to subside as hope is restored and we are able to remember there was good along with the bad that we experienced.

Lamentations 3:19-20 shows us that remembering our times of distress has a purpose, to make us humble. It says, “Remember my afflictions and my misery, the wormwood and the gall, my soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.” The Hebrew word translated humbled, shuwach (shoo´ – akh) means to sink (7743). Shuwach is also translated as bow down as in to show reverence or respect to someone. I think the best way to express this is to fall down in worship or to sink to one’s knees in prayer.

After you have expressed godly sorrow, and restored your relationship with the LORD, you will start to remember the good things he has done for you. Sometimes it takes an intentional effort to see the good within the bad, but it is there if you want to find it. It says in Lamentations 3:21-23:

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’s  mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

To be consumed means that something is completed or finished, “with nothing else expected or intended” (8552). This kind of attitude can cause us to give up and think there is not point in going on.

In Lamentations 3:22 it says, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Essentially, what this is saying is that God is without end, therefore he cannot stop loving us. His love for us continues without any end to it. What we need to realize, and will if we truly repent, is that God has not left us, we have left him. God is faithful, completely reliable, because “that which He once said He has maintained” (530). He does everything he says he’s going to, even the bad, as well as the good.

It may seem like taking matters into our own hands is going to work out well, but in the long run, only God can accomplish that which is necessary for our salvation. His plan is perfect and will yield the best result. It says in Lamentations 3:25-26, ” The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” Understanding that God’s timing is not the same as our timing is essential for repentance to be effective. As  we wait for the LORD we see that he is still working and will not let us move on until we’re ready according to his standard, which is perfection.

Lead me to the Rock

Waiting rooms are sometimes associated with difficult circumstances. One place everyone would like to avoid, but we usually all end up in is a hospital waiting room. If you have ever been in one, it might have seemed like an ominous place, one that you felt was shrouded in darkness. David said, “When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2).

The word translated overwhelmed, ‘âtaph (aw – taf´) means to shroud, as with darkness (5848). The feeling of being overwhelmed comes when we are dealing with the unknown or are uncertain about our future. It can be related to a holding pattern that we have to control over and seems as if it will never end.

God’s waiting rooms may be more pleasant, but not necessarily any easier to deal with. David said, “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation” (Psalm 62:1) and “My soul, wait thou only upon God: for my expectation is from him” (Psalm 62:5). The concept of waiting from God’s perspective may be nothing more than silence, not hearing anything from him or getting a response to your prayer.

Along with silence, when we are waiting on God, there may be a need for stillness, to not do anything. Although doing nothing is easy for some, king David was a man of action. He was regularly engaged in warfare and was not afraid to risk his life; but, when his army went out against Absalom, David found himself on the sideline, waiting to see how things turned out.

Expectation is important because often what we expect actually happens. Expecting a good outcome makes waiting easier, or at least not as stressful, and it is a sign of faith. David said, “The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him: and all the upright in heart shall glory” (Psalm 64:10). A righteous person is someone who has been made right with God. The Hebrew word for righteous, tsâdaq (tsaw – dak´) is also translated as justified. “This word is used of man as regarded as having obtained deliverance from condemnation, and as being thus entitled to a certain inheritance” (6663).

One of the things David inherited from the LORD was the throne of Israel. Nathan the prophet told David, “Thine house and thy kingdom shall be stablished for ever before thee: thy throne shall be stablished for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16). Unlike Saul who was killed for his disobedience, the LORD assured David that his future was secure. “But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee” (2 Samuel 7:15).

When David said, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2), he may have been referring to Jesus. David said in Psalm 62, “He only is my rock and my salvation” (Psalm 62:2). The word translated salvation, yeshuw’ah means deliverance (3444). Jesus is a Greek form of the word yeshu’ah and in 1 Corinthians it says of the rock that the Israelites drank from in the wilderness, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ.”