Just was reading this in Ezekiel (a strange/beautiful book) today:
"Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live." Ch. 18, v. 31-32
This just made me think of how I often choose death via sin. These verses aren't talking about a physical death (well, in some cases, in might be) but a death of the spirit. Sin looks so appetizing from the outside: black and sparkly, a candy-coated thing that shines and emits all sorts of mystery. It promises life and knowledge and is a magnetic pull different from most other things in life. To remove the veil shrouding the whole thing seems to be something of beauty, at first, even though it doesn't quite seem right in the midst of the action. Once you take part, though, remove the veil, gossip, be spiteful, jealously covet, whatever it is, you find quickly that you're left with death. This can take the form of fear, shame, an emptiness...the death of a spirit is a terrible thing to experience. It's awful because we weren't meant to encounter it in the first place.
Even though there's a wide cultural gap between how we live now and how the Israelites were expected to live then, there is a great deal of comparison we can cast between us and the country of Israel. The Lord is constantly calling Israel, "a wayward child (Hosea 11:2)," back to Himself. In all of the filth and betrayal and sin that Israel wallows in over and over again throughout the years, God keeps loving fiercely and takes them back, always, just as they are - dirty and wounded, rebellious, unsure. It's the same with us.
He says, "I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord...and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, 'You are my people'; and he shall say, 'You are my God.' Hosea 2:20, 23.
He wants us to live! He wants us to experience life without anxiety, without fear of being alone, without fear of other people, without this constant turning to death. He delights in our hearts, how each one was individually made, and He wants to put peace there, joy, grace, contentment.
I'm telling myself this today. "So turn, and live." It's what a heart longs for I think.