Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, you backsliding Israel, said the LORD…
I. THE GROUND OF THE APPEAL. "I am married unto you." A man to have slidden back must at one time have been forward. He cannot have truly wandered from the Lord, unless he has personally known Him. To those, therefore, who are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus is the appeal made, "Turn, O backsliding children," etc.
II. TO WHOM THE APPEAL IS ADDRESSED. The Christian who seeks first his worldly advantage, and fails to see that his "chief end is to glorify God," is led step by step farther and farther from the Most High.
III. THE APPEAL ITSELF.
1. The context shows the spirit in which it is to be complied with (ver. 13). First must come confession. As the old proverb has it, "Sensibility to a fault is half-way to amendment."
2. In the text itself we have the appeal in one word — "Turn."
3. The promise associated with this appeal (ver. 23). This is a promise of Almighty power. I remember hearing a brother who, when asked who converted him, replied, "God converted me, who else could do it?" So may we say of the healing of the backslider, "Who but God can do it?" Blessed be the name of the Almighty, He promises to do it.
4. The language used by the backslider as setting forth the One to whom he returns (ver. 22).
(W. P. Lockhart.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.
WEB: Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, 'Return, you backsliding Israel,' says Yahweh; 'I will not look in anger on you; for I am merciful,' says Yahweh. 'I will not keep [anger] forever.