Jeremiah 50:4, 5
In those days, and in that time, said the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together…
In these verses we have given us not a few of the characteristics of real repentance - that repentance which never needs to be repented of. Note some of these as seen in Israel and Judah.
I. THEY ACTUALLY SET OUT TO SEEK THE LORD. The time of thinking about it and talking of it was over. All indecision on the matter had ceased, and we see them arising and going on this blessed journey.
II. TEARS. Had there not been the actual setting out, these tears might not have counted for much. But it is said they were "going and weeping." Too many are quite capable of the weeping, but the other and the far more important part they fail in altogether. But when the fruits go along with the signs of godly sorrow, then those signs are of real worth, telling as they do of the broken and contrite spirit with which God is ever well pleased.
III. SINKING OF ALL DIFFERENCES AND OLD RIVALRIES. Unity taking the place of strife. The old rivals, Israel and Judah, were united now. And the giving up of former grudges and grievances is a real sign of a genuine work of grace in the soul.
IV. INQUIRY. This was an open and practical acknowledgment of their former wrong, a real confession like the "Father, I have sinned," of the returning prodigal.
V. THE ZIONWARD FACE. Ver. 5: "With their faces thitherward," it is said. There are many who talk about religion, but with their faces all the while world ward. What does our common talk, our every day life, our ordinary spirit and conduct, declare? They show which way our face really is, no matter what our tears or inquiries have been.
VI. STIRRING ONE ANOTHER UP TOWARDS THE GOOD WAY. "Come, and let us," etc. (ver. 5). When we see men trying to win others for God, to lead men not away from him, as heretofore, but to him, we conclude that that man's repentance is real.
VII. SOLEMN COVENANTING WITH GOD. The value of such vows and covenants is that they render going back from God more difficult. They help to steady the will and confirm the wavering purpose. They commit us to the right side. It is a kind of breaking down the bridges behind us, a burning of the boats, so that the soldiers started on the enterprise may not be able to recross the river. Hence we urge such open and solemn avowal, consecration and covenanting with God. It tends to make your adhesion to God "perpetual," and your holy purpose to serve him far less likely to "be forgotten." Thus was it with Israel and Judah - never since have they fallen into idolatry, and though yet "the veil is before their faces," they are far other than what they were. And in our own Churches such consecration has again and again been greatly blessed. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.