—yet return again to me, saith the LORD.–Jer. 3:1
The last words of this verse, “saith the LORD”, should get our attention. When God speaks we do well to listen. Not doing so has been man’s biggest problem from the beginning and it accounts for the mess we’re in today. What God says is of great importance. Whether it is a command to obey, a principle to follow, a promise to claim, or a warning to heed, we ought to listen. Since He is all-knowing, and ever loving, caring more for us than we care for ourselves, we ought to give heed to what He says.
Yet, although He has our best interest at heart, we often fail to listen and wander away from the path of His will. Even though we are saved we sometimes revert back to our old manner of life. The Bible calls it “baclsliding”, and it puts us in great danger. When we turn back to the ways of the world God would be perfectly justified in bringing His wrath down upon our heads, destroying us. Yet out of the depths of His grace He says, “return”. No wonder we sing “Amazing Grace”. To think that God would receive us back is simply amazing.
But there is another word that makes this all the more amazing–it’s the word “again”. Were this the only time we found this word in the Bible it would be wonderful, but again and again we see the word “again”. To think that God would repeatedly seek us, invite us, receive us, forgive us, and restore us should move us to tears and cause us to shout with joy. It is a demonstration of the fact that God is loving, kind, gentle, and long-suffering. It is an awful insult to God when we resist and reject God’s offer to be restored. To think He would give us another chance is amazing.
Now notice another important word. It tells us to whom we are to return–“me”, says the Lord. It’s not just getting back to the church, or back to good deeds, or back to the Bible. It’s a matter of getting back to God. He wants you and you need Him. He is calling for you as a shepherd calls for the sheep gone astray. If you refuse His tender voice He will resort to more drastic measures to get your attention. It pays to pay attention when God speaks. God amazes me in many ways, but He is never more amazing than when He demonstrates His grace by forgiving, receiving, and restoring those who have gone astray.