"O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.
Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.
Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him."
I like this scripture... basic repentance message with some extras thrown in. I like the part that says, "take with you words" ... and I don't think it is because God doesn't know what is in our hearts... he does. But sometimes, I think, *we* don't. We need to learn to verbalize our needs and our desires, and see them for what they are. Prayer is an awesome way to do that, because God knows it all... so it is difficult to be dishonest with him, and we learn to be a little bit more honest with ourselves. I love the part about the calves of our lips as well. The footnote goes to a scripture that talks about a broken heart and a contrite spirit... what I think is that sometimes the biggest sacrifice that we can make is to actually speak. :) It is difficult at times to express the feelings in our hearts... especially if they are intense. It might be expressing our deepest loves, desires and hopes, and it might be our sins, to confess them to God, to recognize them in our lives. Either way, telling them to God is a step in the right direction... even if you think he won't approve. Prayer is a two-way communication, and God knows what is in your heart, and he can teach you righteous ways to be happy.... So sometimes the best sacrifice is that of speech... to actually open our hearts to God, and break down those barriers.
In the last verse God says that he will heal our backsliding and love us freely... I love that. When we freely communicate with God, and open those channels... we find more compassion and forgiveness than we can imagine. God doesn't want us to suffer... he wants us to heal, and we can't do that when we aren't expressing our anguish and our joy. Let's be a little vulnerable today... God will be careful with us.