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 NATURE OF THE TRANSACTION.
1. What it is not.
(1) An engagement of the nature of a covenant of works, in which we propose to obey the law of God as the condition of our acceptance in His sight.
(2) An engagement in which we promise to love God and serve Him as a compensation for blessings already received.
(3) An engagement to believe and repent, in order to obtain salvation through Christ.
2. What it is.
(1) In joining ourselves to the Lord, we take Him as our God and portion in Christ Jesus. This is just, in other words, to acquiesce in His purpose of mercy as it is revealed and offered to us in the promise.
(2) Devoting ourselves to the service of God, as a willing and obedient people.
(a) A voluntary surrender.
(b) Universal, without exception or reserve.
(c) Renouncing every other object, in so far as an attachment to it interferes with the love and duty we owe to God.
(d) This surrender is for ever. "Perpetual."
II. WHAT RESPECTS THIS IS THE DUTY OF THOSE WHO PROFESS TO BE, LIKE THE ISRAELITES, PENITENTS RETURNING UNTO THE LORD.
1. To join themselves unto the Lord in a perpetual covenant is a duty He requires of every returning penitent. It makes a part of what is required in the very first of the ten commandments. For what is the covenant we have now described but an acknowledging, worshipping, and glorifying the Lord as our God in Christ Jesus?
2. God not only requires, but the great things He has done for them give Him a right to expect that they should join themselves to Him in a perpetual covenant.
3. The advantage to be derived from such a connection, points it out as our duty to join ourselves unto the Lord. Since they are dependent upon Him for every blessing, the regard they owe to their own interest renders it necessary.
III. ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS DUTY. The obligations of authority, gratitude, and interest, unite in calling us to this exercise; why, then, should we hesitate a moment about taking a decided part?
1. The privileges you think it would be presumptuous to claim, God Himself freely offers. I will, says He, be your God.
2. The fear that He will reject you is no just cause why you should not now join yourselves unto the Lord. In devoting yourselves unto Him, you are only obeying His commandment; and surely you have no cause to fear that He will reject the service He Himself requires.
3. The fear of departing again from Him is no just cause why you should not now join yourselves unto the Lord, since He Himself hath undertaken to preserve you from falling, and to keep you by His almighty power through faith unto complete salvation. Even now He is opening up all the stores of His fulness to supply your need, and enable you to fulfil every engagement into which, by His grace, you are disposed to enter.
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.