The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is stored up. The pains of childbirth come for him. He is an unwise son, for he does not present himself at the opening of the womb.Hosea 13:12–13 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
God is patient and kind. These ideas we have are rooted in Who He is. Even in the writings of the Old Testament prophets, time and again we encounter this long-suffering compassion from the Ancient of Days. It is compassion that is demonstrated from the beginning of creation to this day.
Let us further explore this analogy akin to “You must be born again.” We all know, before a birth comes a warning. That warning comes in the form of labor pains.
We know before Israel was taken captive, there was a long siege against the nation. City after city fell to the invaders. Prophets were sent to speak forth of the coming judgment, urging the nation to repent.
What started as the discomfort was now impending judgment.
God is longsuffering.
Do you despise the riches of His goodness, tolerance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?Romans 2:4 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
His goodness and tolerance are leading each of us to repentance. The simple truth is disobedience has a just recompense.
For if the word spoken by angels was true, and every sin and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation, which was first declared by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him?Hebrews 2:2–3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
God’s patient leading to repentance is like birth pangs. At first, there is a bit of discomfort, which over time becomes more insistent. It is designed to bring us to the throne of God where confession brings remission.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
God patiently awaited those in His chosen nation to repent… Judgment was surely upon them. What started as raids in a few cities was now urgent. The impending doom was quickly becoming a reality—many would die and others led away to enslavement. What started as a bit of discomfort quickly escalated.
There is another application.
For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled. For all these things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, epidemics, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.Matthew 24:5–8 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
These are the beginning of birth pangs. This is Jesus giving a briefing to His disciples with the signs that are the warnings of the end. Some of these have been around, others seem to be looming in the very near future. Days of which many think we are living in now.
Earthquakes are increasing in number. Famine and disease do not go away. Saber rattling is more popular than ever. Natural disasters occur with more frequency and severity.
With what is going on in the world we can match it to some of the things in the Bible. Scripture says these days may be the very beginning of birth pangs. Perhaps maybe we’re not even there yet.
That mild discomfort is going to steadily grow. Most importantly, to lead each of us to repentance and freedom from the condemnation of sure judgment coming.
Look… If you’re reading this it’s not by mistake. God may be leading you to repentance.
For the unbeliever, the stark reality is a confrontation with death. Our past deviations from goodness cannot be undone. The condemnation that comes from each of those deviations is death. We’re guilty many times over.
The believer knows the same fear of judgment. It may not be death unto perdition, nevertheless, it is what sin brings… Death.
You can have life. That is what birth brings… Life. If you’ve not ever belied God and confessed your sins… Do it now. If you’re a Christian and God is showing you your sin, confess it now.