Devotional – "Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me"

My thought for today:

I have been going through First and Second Chronicles, looking at the history of all Israel and Judah kings. I’ve been impressed with that characteristic unique to God-a love that never quits. Over and over, this expression crossed my mind as I read the account of each King’s life.
Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me. The point of that expression is that a person with an ounce of intelligence is not going to fall for the same thing twice. I know that God cannot be fooled, and when it comes to His intellect, we’ve no business attempting to draw any comparison between our finite thinking and the infinite creator of the universe. And yet, over and over again, His people slap their great God of deliverance in the face, by giving into idolatry and rebellion, to the point of bringing pagan idols into Solomon’s temple and worshipping them there. They push the God of creation to the sidelines and He waits there patiently, searching for the slightest inkling of repentance. Once seen, He immediately responds, as if this hasn’t happened before. He throws His arms around them, with true forgiveness and a spirit of rejoicing, so happy that they’ve come back. Do you think He’s caught by surprise when the next king arrives on the scene, described in scripture as an evil king, who turns the people back to idolatry? Do you think He’s shocked, when without even the slightest pause for consideration, His people willingly dive back into the vile sin of idol worship? Once again the God of the universe is sidelined and replaced with graven images.
Hezekiah comes on the scene, and it says that at that time there is not one living subject that has ever celebrated the passover. How far they had deliberately distanced themselves from Him. How patient, how kind, how tolerant, how long-suffering, how gracious and how loving God is. Once again He responds, when the king leads the people to repentance, and instills a desire in them to return to God and acknowledge the great miracle of deliverance by keeping the passover.
Listen to what this Godly king said as he made an appeal to the people of Judah: O Israelites! Come back to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that He can return to you. Don’t repeat the sins of your ancestors who turned their backs on God, the God of their ancestors, who then brought them to ruin– you can see the ruin all around you. Don’t be pigheaded as your ancsetors were. Clasp God’s outstretched hand, come to His temple of holy worship, consecrated for all times. Serve God your God. You’ll no longer be in danger of His hot anger. If you come back, God is gracious and kind and won’t snub you. Come back and He’ll welcome you with open arms.
I, for one, am so thankful that my God is a forgiving God who will never give up, though disappointed by my life time after time. The only requirement for a restored relationship is a broken spirit and an open acknowledgment of sin. Then the open arms will once again come into view as you run to the embrace of your Saviour and God. You feel, once again, the comfort, protection, and peace, that comes from the warmth of His embrace, and you wonder why you ever thought it best to leave His presence.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in to him and sup with him and he with me.”
Good night all.

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