The surest way to invite God’s judgment is to say like what Israel had said, “I have not sinned.” When human judgment comes against God’s judgment, human judgment always comes short. When Israel looked at herself, she did not see that she was sinful. Despite of God’s grace and patience, they had continued to forget about God. They ran after the Baals, they turned their back towards God, they committed transgressions without number, yet they could declare that they were innocent and that God’s anger had turned from them. What an erroneous judgment.
Because of their wrong judgment about themselves, God was about to bring them to judgment for saying so. He rebuked them for going to Egypt for help. Their sins had greatly polluted the land so that even the climate had changed: God withheld rain from their land. Both Israel and Judah sinned gravely against God, yet Judah always regarded Israel as more sinful. Because of such hypocrisy, God declared Israel more righteous than Judah. Being hypocritical, refusal to confess one’s sins and having a wrong judgment about oneself is a far greater sin than merely rebelling against God.
God was calling His people to return to Him: “Return, faithless Israel. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the Lord your God …. and that you have not obeyed my voice.” Confession means to agree with someone. When we confess our sins, we agree with God that we are sinners. When we yield to God’s judgment and not holding on to our own judgments, we are then returning to God.
As a result of returning to God, His people would be given shepherds who were after God’s own heart and would feed them with knowledge and understanding, i.e. bringing in God’s judgment into their lives. Then they would begin to prosper and increase in the land. Healing would take place quickly and they then could receive the inheritance from the Lord. All good things come because of agreeing with God about our sinful condition. Those who cannot find any sin in their lives are imposing their own judgments upon God’s when God is right and they are wrong.
Refusing to acknowledge sin, according to God, is like hardening our hearts and sowing among the thorns. God was calling His people to break up the fallow ground and not to sow among the thorns. They must circumcise their hearts and not just their bodies. It is our incorrect judgment about ourselves that prevent us from being fruitful and productive.
Is your heart soft towards God? Do you confess your sins before Him and agree with His judgments? Judge yourself correctly and God’s healing will come.
Ps 108:6-13 Jer 2:31-4:18 Col 1:1-20 Prov 24:21-22