But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers - their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, which 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, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land (Vayikra / Leviticus 26:40-42).
The Torah teaches that God would respond to how his people behave. If they obeyed him, he would bless them, if not they would be punished. Whether we like this concept or not, that is the way it was. If the people lived according to God's ways, he would bless them, causing them to prosper and live securely in their land. If not, then they would experience great trouble culminating in exile.
Israel experienced two periods of exile. The first was under the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian empires. The Land had little significant Jewish presence for 70 years, the period set by God himself. Following that time many people returned to the Land. But about forty years after Yeshua's coming, the people were dispersed again. This time the exile would last about two thousand years. And while the modern State of Israel was established in May 1948, the majority of the people still reside outside of the Land, still in a state of exile.
One doesn't have to read that much of the Hebrew Scriptures to see that God was very angry with his people. Over and over again he warned them of the consequences of their deeds. But for the most part God's warning went unheeded. And so God, who is always true to his word, passed judgement on his people.
But the state of judgement was never intended as final. God clearly stated how we could be brought back into a state of blessing, prosperity and security.
If the people would admit their own wrongs as well as those of their ancestors, God would reestablish with them the same kind of relationship he had with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
It is important however to realize that confession is not a formula. God is not saying that if the people would recite the right words, then their lives would get better. The passage we read also speaks of having humble hearts. What is spoken with the mouth must come from an honest heart.
As we read in the new covenant writings:
Because of what Yeshua has done for us, we can return to God. But in order to return, we must do so by honestly admitting our wrongs.
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