January 17: The Difference Between Confessing and Repenting

Read Judges 10

Israel was in a constant state of needing saved from their own mistakes.

It’s the story of the Judges. And it’s the story of my own heart, too.

If I let myself get sloppy and don’t follow His ways carefully, wholeheartedly, I will find myself broken yet again.

Broken leads to more broken. It’s the story of mankind.

But God uses the brokenness of His children to usher in repentance, and pull us to the His heart of compassion. Straight through to His deliverance.

When the Israelites fell back into their old, familiar ways, God threw up His hands and gave their enemies free reign. (See verses 7 and 8.)

But the people cried out to Him, distressed and ruined. We know we’ve done wrong. Now save us again! Pleeeease!!!

God wouldn’t be convinced by the mere sound of their words.

I read this and wonder if the children of Israel were just playing the game. They’d grown accustomed to the rhythm of turning to other gods before falling into God’s punishment.

Then they would cry to Him for help until finally He saved them yet again.

I think God was privy to their game and wanted to free them from the cycle the Israelites were all tangled up in.

So He waited for them to acknowledge the truth. It wasn’t just that they had sinned, yet again. It was that they were at the mercy of God Almighty, the One Who had chosen them, set them apart, entered into intimate covenant with.

I think He wanted them to realize and proclaim the truth that He alone had total reign over every part of every battle. 

Not their words of repentance. Or their cries for help.

Only God.

We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.

And the children of Israel put away their foreign gods and served the LORD with their hearts as well as with their words.

Almost as if they went from telling God they knew they screwed up to proclaiming the truth that He was the One in charge, and He did not owe them anything.

It’s the difference between confessing and repenting.

The difference between words and action.

The truth is, we are all completely at his mercy. It’s just easier to see in the Israelites’ mistakes thousands of years ago than it is to see in our own right now.


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