The Call to Return {DWITW 365}


The words of Hosea are still fresh in my mind from the DWITW summer study as I dip my toes into the writings of contemporary prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a prophet sent to the southern kingdom of Judah prior to the Babylonian exile. The familiar language of adultery and faithlessness brings to my mind all the warnings and sufferings that Hosea voiced to the Israelites in the northern kingdom leading up to their exile to Assyria. In chapter 3, Jeremiah is told to make a proclamation to the exiled northern tribes of Israel:


Go, proclaim these words to the north, and say,
‘Return, unfaithful Israel.
This is the Lord's declaration.
I will not look on you with anger,
for I am unfailing in my love.
This is the Lord's declaration.
I will not be angry forever.
Only acknowledge your guilt —
you have rebelled against the Lord your God.
You have scattered your favors to strangers
under every green tree
and have not obeyed me.
This is the Lord's declaration.

- Jeremiah 3:12-13 (CSB)

Though Israel had forgotten her true Husband and covenant Love, though she had pursued lifeless idols and foreign Baals, though she had been torn apart and devastated by the Lord’s righteous anger, she was not without hope. She was not forgotten. In this text, the Lord still calls her to return to Him with reminders of His unfailing love and reassurance that He will not be angry forever. Israel needed only to recognize and admit that she was guilty - guilty of rebellion, of idolatry, and of breaking her vows to her God.

Three times the Lord calls faithless Israel to return to Him (3:12, 3:14, 3:22). The third call is paired with a promise to heal Israel of unfaithfulness, a promise to mend the broken places within her. We, too, carry these broken places - places where we have sought out something other than the Lord to satisfy. We can be devastatingly forgetful and faithless, just like Israel.

There is redemption and life for you beyond what this fading world has to offer. 

I can see my own reflection in Israel’s missteps - in how I’ve bartered my love to feel less alone, in how I’ve pursued a pretty lie instead of a harsh truth, in how I’ve filled emptiness with fleeting comforts. I am all too guilty of forgetting the God who has performed great wonders of the heart and freed me from my enslavement to sin and self. By His grace and kindness, He allows me to see my own guilt and witness the ugly that faithlessness it breeds. And in that same grace and kindness, Christ came for me - knowing everything I have been and will be. Despite every idolatrous act I’ve ever committed and every loveless word I’ve ever spoken, He ransomed me from death and redeemed me from utter destruction by enduring them Himself. He took on all the pain, devastation and suffering, all to make a way for me to return to the holy God who is worthy of all my affections.

The call to return is for you too! The call is to turn from the things that have drawn you away, to return to the Lord, and to find healing and completeness in His arms alone. The way has been made. It is finished, sisters. There is redemption and life for you beyond what this fading world has to offer. Our salvation is found only in God. And through Christ, His wrath has been satisfied. His unfailing love stands waiting for us. What holds you back?


 Robin Zastrow wants to live in a world where coffee never gets cold and kindness abounds. When she's not discovering the wonders of construction paper and cardboard tubes with her two little ones, you can find her sneaking in another few pages of a book or jotting down bits of writing on scraps of paper.

One of her favorite Scriptures is:“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 ESV