Did You R.S.V.P.?
Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.— Hosea 6:1-3
At the bottom of every page of Scripture, the Lord could have noted, “R.S.V.P.—please respond.” From the moment our earliest ancestors walked away from the Garden of Eden, to the amazing vision of the new heavens and the new earth at the end of Revelation, if we are watching and listening, we will hear God beckoning. Time after time He invites us to come to Him, regardless of how far we’ve wandered or how long we’ve been gone.
No matter how great the distance between you and the Lord right now, passages like Hosea 6:1 issue His surprising summons—especially to the torn and struck down to return.
God admits He hurts us for our good. The open door, the light left on, and all of His gracious approaches haven’t worked. Those who've not responded have an opportunity to hear His invitation through the pain of their continued wandering. It’s time to R.S.V.P. “Come, let us return to the Lord,” is the response God wants to hear and the first step to spiritual revival.
Notice the invitation, “Come.”You have a choice to leave the unfulfilling location where you are. It’s a tender-hearted pleading. Doubt can become faith. Discouragement can become joy. Despair can become purpose and deep satisfaction. Defeat can become victory. But you have to come.
And you are not alone—notice Hosea says, “Let us.” You may feel alone, but you're not. Others are hearing the invitation, and when you come, you will discover they’re coming, too. “Let us return to the Lord,” admits our mistake.Our problems began when we turned away, so let’s turn back. Right now is not too late.
Returning to the Lord is a decision made at a particular point in time. Do you sense the Holy Spirit drawing you? Are you ready to make that choice in these moments? You gain no benefit if you don’t begin by responding to Him.
Responding includes recognizing some things have to change. Think about your life and ask God to shine the light of His Word on your attitudes and activities. He will show you what is wrong.
And He will help you repent of sin. When you see through His Word what got you where you are and the damage it's caused, God will help you turn away and develop a new thought pattern. I’m wrong God. I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I have no excuse for acting and choosing as I have. I’m unworthy, but I’m returning.
Turning to the Lord is often actually re-turning. If you want to experience a fresh downpour of God’s mercy, you have to come back to the place where the water flowed previously. This is not just an emotional response and a change of mind; it’s also an exertion of your will to get moving again in the right direction. Invite the Lord to listen in on your thoughts as you identify specific sins you’re leaving behind. Plan to turn away from opportunities to sin and reject habits that involve putting yourself in tempting situations. Choose healthy alternatives.
Taking these positive steps will put distance between you and past sin, and move you in a new direction. You will be returning to the Lord. And every time you make a choice that honors Him, you're deepening your commitment to wanting all He has for you.
When was the last time you sensed a compelling invitation from the Lord to make a change? How did you respond?
What has happened since that experience?
Father, I deeply regret how often I have read Your Word with little effort to hear Your invitations to respond. I’ve followed the words on the page without hearing Your voice. And because of that, Your invitations which could have kept me close have had to travel farther since I have wandered unnecessarily away. You are so faithful in Your guidance and persistent in Your warnings. Father, open my ears to hear even the whispers of caution You utter in my life. I know responding to You continually will make all the difference. I thank You for Your gracious invitations. In Jesus’ name, amen.