I. KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR CONDITION. In the dark days we are apt to say, "Doth God know?" This is our weakness. The cries Of the poor, the needy, and the oppressed are ever heard on high.
II. CONTINUED INTEREST IN THEIR WELFARE. Israel, though scattered, was not forsaken. Affliction witnesses both as to our sin and God's mercy. If God did not care, he would let us go on in sin. But because he loves and pities us and yearns for our home coming, he ceases not to cry, "Return."
III. ADEQUATE MEANS PROVIDED FOR THEIR RESTORATION. God does not require the impossible. His commands are promises. The way is open. The exiles are free to come back. Welcome and peace are assured on the word of the Lord. But self-effort is needed. We must ourselves act.
IV. GRANDEST ENCOURAGEMENT TO OBEDIENCE. The best reasons to convince the judgment. The most powerful motives to sway the heart. God appeals:
1. To the sense of right. What should be the best and the noblest? "We needs must love the highest when we see it"'
2. The feeling of brotherhood. The old unity might be restored. The Jews looked back with pride to the days of David and Solomon. So of the Church.
3. Their consciousness of the real dignity of their being. They were precious in God's sight. Specially protected and dear "as the apple of his eye." Such thoughts fitted to raise our hearts, to inspire us with worthier ideas of our nature and destiny (1 John 3:1).
4. Their hope of better times. Obedience would bring blessedness. - F.
I have spread you abroad, etc
Homilist.This is a call of Jehovah to the Jews in Babylonian captivity to return to their own land. These words may illustrate the moral exile of humanity. The point suggested is, the reluctance of the exile to return. This reluctance is seen —
I. IN THE EARNESTNESS OF THE DIVINE APPEAL. "Return," is the word. "Flee from the land of the north." It is the land of corruption and tyranny.
II. IN THE POTENCY OF THE DIVINE REASONS. Reasons for return are —
1. The greatness of their separation.
2. The tender interest of God in them.
3. The opposition of the Almighty to their enemies.Conclusion — Why should sinners he so reluctant to return to God? What made the Jews so reluctant to break away from Babylon? Was it indolence? Was it love of the world? Was it old association? Do not all these act now, to prevent sinners from coming out of moral Babylon?
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