February 29

Leviticus 26:40-42 40"'But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers–their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies–then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

What was left of the nation of Israel went into captivity one thousand years later just as the LORD promised. They were unfaithful to be the examples to the world that God had called them to be. Instead, they worshipped the gods of the people around them and perverted justice. Treachery and hostility toward God sounds so evil, but it is accurate. In great patience God endured this attitude and sent them prophet after prophet, most of whom they murdered. Finally, when they had gone too far, God used one of their enemies to conquer them.

As captives in Babylon, they remembered these words and began to confess their sins and the sins of their fathers. They began to sensitize (circumcise) their hearts to God. They humbled themselves and recognized that they were the ones that were wrong and more than deserving of what they had received at God's hand. For 70 years they were captives in a strange land and without a temple. God saw their repentant hearts, now sensitive and not hardened toward Him, and restored them just as He promised. He never forgets His promises.

God does the same with us today. When our hearts are hard, we may find ourselves in captivity of one kind or another. Things beyond our control cause us grief and pain until we do what they did, sensitize our hearts and humble ourselves. God knows that He is our greatest need, and He will take us through whatever we need to go through to bring us to Himself.

Meditation: Is my heart sensitive and humble toward God?