"Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed. "Since the days of your fathers, you have turned from My statutes; you have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," says the LORD of Hosts. But you ask: "How can we return?" - Malachi 3:6-7 HCSB

An old woman liked to pray beside the river. One morning, as she was finishing her meditation, she saw a scorpion floating helplessly along in the current on a small branch. The scorpion was pulled closer to the bank and it was caught in the roots that extended over and into the water. The current pushed so hard that the scorpion was being forced down into the water. It struggled frantically to free itself but matters only grew worse as the water began to pile up in a small wave against the scorpion's back, pinning it to the roots and half drowning it.

The old woman, compelled by mercy, reached out to rescue the drowning scorpion. But the scorpion, moved by both its panic and its scorpion nature, stung her. The old woman withdrew her hand, but still pitying the poor creature, once again tried to rescue it. However, each time she reached out, the scorpion stung her. Soon her hand was bloody and she grimaced as she was wracked by the pain of its poison.

A passerby called to her, "You fool! What's wrong with you? Why subject yourself to so much pain to save such a nasty creature?"

The woman replied, "Just because it is in the scorpion's nature to sting, should I deny my own nature to save it?"

Christ's hands were also bloodied as He tried to save us. He too writhed in the agony of his efforts. For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person--though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us![1]

Although He tried repeatedly to teach us through the judges and the prophets, we kept killing them, kept imprisoning them, and kept rejecting the message.[2] Most people would have simply given up and muttered something about the uselessness of throwing good money after bad, but just because WE were nasty and ungrateful did not mean that God could deny His good nature.

We often look at our lives thinking, "It's hopeless! I've so irretrievably ruined my life that God could never accept me." Let me extend a line of hope to those drowning in the consequences of sin...God CANNOT deny His own nature. He will reach out to us if we reach out to Him. He could no more refuse a penitent sinner than He could deny His divinity.

[1] Romans 5:6-8 HCSB

[2] Matthew 23:29-37; Luke 11:49-50; 13:34