“Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” – Ezekiel 33:11 (ESV)
Although often misunderstood therefore rejected by many, there is a consequence to inaction regarding our eternal state. A careful reading of our Scriptures reveals the consequences of no repentance due to unbelief. The Lord God declares that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Why? Because God knows that death for those who reject God’s offer of salvation by His grace through faith in Jesus means an eternity separated from God and all others. So the Lord calls for all to a repentance of sin. Repentance is an act of turning around and away from the ways which lead to eternal death and receive from God the free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). The Israelites who were exiled to Babylon had lost hope and reasoned that if they were liable to death in judgment that was inevitable, they were in a hopeless condition and had no future. God replied that He had no pleasure in seeing the wicked go into death for their sin, but desires them to repent and live. This is true of all God has called (2 Peter 3:9). He calls us to “Repent and be saved!” for there is no other way.
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers,” Malachi 4:5-6a (NASB)
This prophecy of God was delivered to His people through Malachi, a prophet of God Almighty. About 430 years before the birth of Jesus, God promised to send Elijah the prophet back to Israel. While on Earth in his ministry of presenting Himself as Messiah and proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said, “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.” Matthew 11:14. John the Baptizer was a fulfillment of the promise in Malachi because he fulfilled the function of the last Prophet of God and the one who introduced and proclaimed Jesus as Messiah. When John’s father was told that he would be the father of John and Barren Elizabeth would be John’s mother, he did not immediately believe. He doubted through questioning how it could be due to age. Zachariah was struck mute until John was born. But the angel Gabriel who would announce to Mary the miraculous conception of Jesus within her, used the same words Malachi used about Elijah/John. “And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers back to their children,” Luke 1:17.
“O God, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.” Psalm 80:3,7, 19 (NASB)
Consider when you find yourself at the end of a blind alley or perhaps the Dead End on a country road. What is our first impulse? We want to get out of there. We’re likely lost unless we intended that as our destination. God’s people were frequently at a dead end and perpetually needed help turning back. Repentance or restoration was a way back. That is the idea the psalmist was writing about in this Psalm. He calls on God three times to “Restore us O God.” He also is asking for God to ‘shine’ His face – that is, show favor so that the outcome would be salvation from their predicament. Israel in the Old Testament, was many times and many situations in this need. We are too, aren’t we? Like this psalmist we need a revival. If truly we seek revival, it comes when we promote the glory of God through our lives and church assemblies. The proper object of our Christian life is God’s glory. The church was made for this purpose, to glorify God; but it is only a revived church that brings glory to his name. Let’s call on our LORD God for this restoration..