Return, Reform, and Live

From Lynda Lindsey  

The Lord’s declaration: “Return, faithless Israel, I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful, I will not be angry forever.” “ ... Return, faithless people, for I am your husband. I will choose you... and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:13; 14; 15

The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place.” “... If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.” Jeremiah 7:3; 5-8

I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate. Jeremiah 7:34

Reunions, coming together again after an absence, are usually happy affairs. To reunite with loved ones or to return to a once beloved place is deeply satisfying. Men and women return to loved ones after a war. Students return for holidays during school breaks. True joy knows no bounds when a faithless, rebellious, evildoer returns to the Lord in true and humble repentance; jubilation breaks out! Remember how eagerly the prodigal son’s father celebrated his son’s return? The father, upon seeing his son in the distance, immediately tucked up his cumbersome robe, ran towards and embraced his son, and even gave a party in his honor!

God promised restoration and reunion if His people showed true repentance, a repentance that made a difference in their actions. God, angry at His people’s hypocritical show of repentance while their actions showed no change of heart, demanded reform at the deepest possible level. Treat all with justice; especially the poor, the aliens, the orphans and widows; shed no innocent blood. Forsake all other gods and return to the one, true, living God whose very Presence is life.

God spoke to HIs people, calling them again and again, but they did not listen nor answer. Judah’s ears were deaf to God’s pleas; with evil hearts they continued in evil practices and refused to return, each one pursuing his own course. The light of truth perished in darkness of sin. Judgement would come. And with it all sounds of joy and gladness would depart. Judgement will come. Don’t trust in worthless, deceptive words. Trust only in God’s truth. Repentance is key. Read God’s Word; hear and obey. Repent. Return. Live.