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…
I. THE VOLUNTARINESS OF THIS QUEST. How it is exactly that Israel becomes master of its own choice is not indicated here. Nor need we stop to notice the indications elsewhere. The great thing to note is that Israel, being free to choose, chooses the right thing. Israel might have chosen to stop in Babylon. Thus a great difference is indicated between the circumstances in which the first covenant with Israel was made, and these circumstances of the second covenant. We search the Book of Exodus in vain for any evidence of such a free and profoundly penitent spirit as we find here. God has shown by the history of Israel that a covenant made in constraint may be necessary, but also it can only be preparatory. All the elements here are of strong voluntary action. The people come; they are not driven. They weep with the noble emotion of penitence. All the waste of past centuries stands before them, seen as it might have been seen before if only they had had eyes to see. Then there is the seeking, hoping spirit to be considered. The people are willing now to go to God, whom so long they had forsaken in idolatry and unrighteousness.
II. THE UNION OF THOSE WHO HAD BEEN UNNATURALLY SEPARATED. Why this distinction between the children of Israel and the children of Judah? The very names indicate something wrong, something having its basis in self-will and jealousy. For the children of Judah were also children of Israel. Thus the common Christianity underlies all sectarian names. These names originate in certain historical necessities, and the sects keep them because they are thinking of the different starting points whence they have come rather than of the common goal whither they tend. In uniting thus together, Israel and Judah were doing things meet for repentance. They were doing all they could do while they remained in exile. Past alienations and antipathies were submerged in the rise of a strong feeling of desire after their God. When men want to be brothers and companions, most difficulties in the way can be easily pushed aside.
III. A SUBORDINATE ELEMENT IN THE QUEST OF JEHOVAH. The people know they must turn their footsteps toward a certain place, even Zion. God is always to be sought in a certain appointed way. Seeking Zion, the people are doing a great deal towards finding God. The people knew the way to look toward Zion, even from afar; we have illustration of this in the praying attitude of Daniel, who bowed his knees three times a day, his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem. Whether we shall find God depends upon where we are disposed to seek him. We shall certainly never find him apart from Jesus Christ, nor anywhere else than as connected with the heavenly Zion, the city of the living God. The vague aspirations of natural human sentiment promise a great deal, but they perform nothing. They follow an ignis futuus, and not the star that goes on till it stands over Bethlehem. God is to be found by those who will accept the guidance of his Spirit, making known to them the riches which are in Christ. - Y.
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.