“O Lord, why have You made us [able] to err from Your ways and hardened our hearts to [reverential] fear of You? Return [to bless us] for Your servants’ sake, the tribes of Your heritage.” Isaiah 63:17 ->me: This is not an attempt to lay blame on the Lord, rather a recognition that the guilt of His people is such that the Lord had no option but to drive them from Him and into the far country of sin which they had chosen. The heart choosing disobedience hardens progressively against God’s way until the moment (known only to God and fixed by Him) comes when the point of no return is reached, when the final, decisive choice of sin is made. When this point is passed the situation is humanly irretrievable: only God can change it – if only He will return. This is the condition I find myself in every day…I feel it…I feel further from Him when I have let my own self fixing, self satisfying, self comforting ways come in between Him and I. When I choose a way that is against You Father; when I sin or deliberately look to other sources of strength, happiness, or worth…I drift away…but I am the first one to throw my hands down and accuse you of not being there. What choice do you have Father when my actions and heart tell You to go away? The sobering reality is that You threw my sin on your Son and then turned your back on Him so You would not have to turn Your back on me; He had to suffer a punishment that was not only incurring Your wrath meant for me but also your absence.