So the leaders partook of their provisions, and did not ask direction from the LORD. (Joshua 9:14 NRSV)

"To repent," says Frederick Buechner, "is to come to your senses. It is not so much something you do as something that happens. True repentance spends less time looking at the past and saying `I'm sorry,' than to the future and saying `Wow!'"

The Old Testament tells us that even God repented once. It was in the time of Jonah the prophet. Jonah was sent to the wicked city of Nineveh. He was instructed to tell the people God was going to destroy their city because of their great sins. So Jonah preached and the people repented--from the king down to the lowliest person in the city. It was amazing--the most successful revival crusade ever conducted. Then the Bible says something even more amazing. When God saw that the people of Nineveh repented, God repented and decided to spare the city. This, you'll remember, was exactly what Jonah feared would happen. That is why when God called him to Nineveh, he headed in the opposite direction and was swallowed by the giant fish.

How can God repent? God cannot sin. It is because repentance is much more than feeling sorry for our sins. Repentance is a change of direction.

God of all, help to change my direction from doing my thing to doing yours. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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