Come, and let us return to the LORD: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has smitten, and he will bind us up.
I. THE FACT OF BACKSLIDING. Had there been no wandering from the Lord, there would have been no need of a return to Him. From passages in the histories of Solomon and David, as shewing how luxury and ease conduce to backsliding. Solomon would be now caned a child of God. He did start well. But the history of Solomon shows us that no amount of experience is in itself a safeguard. Whether young or old in the faith, we need the preserving grace of God from moment to moment. In Solomon's case the affinity with Pharaoh, and marriage with his daughter, are like the first links in a long chain of backsliding. Is it not often the case that believers, even when apparently walking in the fear of the Lord, may be cherishing some secret sin or indulgence, which, like a seed concealed in the earth, finally germinates and blossoms forth into open backsliding! Solomon fell through self-indulgence. And the Christian who is self-indulgent, who makes the means entrusted to him by God minister to his love of luxury and desire for worldly pomp, is on the high road to idolatry. God did not leave Solomon undisturbed in his idolatry and self-indulgence. The record of David's fall is given in 2 Samuel 11. Idleness is the parent of vice. Lurking lusts, encouraged by the quiet, creep out of their hiding-places, hold converse with the heart, and seek to drag him into all manner of sin. David fell before temptation, and set himself to commit further sin, in the hope of covering that already committed. This is almost invariably the case with the backslider.
II. God's dealings with the backslider. "He hath torn — He hath smitten." It is in mercy, and not in wrath, that God deals with His backsliding children. Punishment has for its object, the vindication of the authority of God as the moral Ruler. It is judicial as well as remedial. But its chief purpose is the backslider's restoration.
III. A GLIMMER OF FAITH ON THE PART OF THE BACKSLIDER. "He will heal us — He will bind us up." In the heart of the backslider there lies hidden the germ of a God-given faith, like seeds in a mummy case.
IV. THE GOODLY RESOLVE. "Come, and let us return unto the Lord." Some seek to heal their backslidings without dealing with God Himself. How are we to return? Through Jesus, the once crucified, the now risen and exalted One.
(W. P. Lockhart.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.