The call to return in Jeremiah 3 is laced with mercy. “Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the Lord your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD. Return, O faithless children, declares the Lord; for I am your master. Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness.”
“God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” Romans 2:4
Grace gives us what we do not deserve, and mercy withholds from us what we do deserve. God’s wide mercy is spread out in open arms, beckoning us to come, to repent–confess our sins and turn from them to Him. It is His loving mercy that woos us to humble, rigorous, honest self-reflection, that convicts the heart and warms it toward Him, and that turns the taste of rebellion sour and the effort of self-will despicable. The peace that follows is indescribable, a loving and lavish gift from the Bestower of the undeserved.
Behold, I come to You, I return to You, for you are the LORD my God. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; Your mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Make all sin repugnant to me, cleanse my rebellion, and redeem the wasted opportunities and the favors I have scattered. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Jeremiah 3:22; Lamentations 3:22-23; Psalm 51:17,10) Thank You for Your wide mercy.