A Call to Return

11 min readFebruary 19, 2022


Christ , salvation
Jeff segoviaBy: Jeff Segovia
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Key Text: Jeremiah 2–3

We live in a time where there are lots of things around us that are designed in order to attempt to satisfy the needs of men. These things are being fed to us on a daily basis. In this world of self and instant gratification, we see the big role that the media plays. The media shows us what our flesh desires and creates in us a craving for more entertainment — a means which can never get through the depths of the heart. The social media is flooded with contents which aim to inspire, motivate, and push us to be better or to pursue self-advancement. While there is some good in that, we know for sure that such things can still leave us lifeless and unsatisfied. The default of men today is to turn to the world for satisfaction even though they know already that a vanity piled on top of another vanity will just end up in vanity.

The default of men today is to turn to the world for satisfaction even though they know already that a vanity piled on top of another vanity will just end up in vanity.

There’s one more thing that I believe is more dangerous than turning to the world for satisfaction. This is being self-centered. We live in a time where people want to live autonomously, that is, self-government. Man considers himself as the owner of his life and so resolves to rule it by his own according to his desires. Man considers his faculties including his intellect and emotions to be the only source of reason and that the universe is about himself and that he or she should always be understood by everyone. It is evident these days that men have become lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:2) so they create a god in their own mind which is in fact is themselves. They have an image of a god in their mind and heart and yes, that is not the God of the Scriptures.

What is happening now to people also happened to the Israelites of old. The Israelites turned to their own ways and had forsaken the Lord their God who delivered them with great power from Egypt. The Lord, as He told Jeremiah the Prophet, recalls what Israel was once:

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest… (Jeremiah 2:1–3)

Israel was indeed precious before the Lord. However, the Lord states the unfortunate turning away of His people:

5 Thus says the LORD: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless? 6 They did not say, Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’ 7 And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit. (Jeremiah 2:5–8)

Let us see what the Israel had done in those days: They went far from the Lord to pursue worthless things. They did not remember how the Lord delivered them from Egypt. They defiled the land in which the Lord brought them. The priests who were supposed to be reminding them of the law of God did not know the law themselves. The prophets prophesied falsely by Baal. They went to other things that do not profit. This is the Lord’s summary of what they did:

You have played the whore with many lovers (Jeremiah 3:1)

The Israel became so idolatrous that they had utterly forgotten and forsaken the Lord their God. Oh, Christian! can you relate to this? Have you been like the Israel of old? Have you also forsaken the Lord your God? They loved other things more than they loved the Lord. We may not be aware of it but we are most oftentimes like the Israelites. We raise our hands in worship every Lord’s day and yet we turn to the passing glory of the world as our nourishment for the rest of the week. The Lord is right when He said:

for My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

Note the two evils we have committed:

  1. We have forsaken the Lord;
  2. We made for ourselves cisterns which can hold no water.

We express through our worship songs that the Lord is the fountain that won’t run dry. But when was the last time we come to Him for a drink of living water? What we always do is that we take the road back to Egypt and drink its bitter waters. We, as Christians, are not ignorant that God is there but we always exercise negligence of Him and in so doing we willfully forsake Him for the sake of the unprofitable things of the world. We love the bitter waters of the world which unknowingly poisons us and drains the life out of us. We forget that life is only found in the Lord and that anything outside of Jesus Christ is a total absurdity. We are not even ashamed that we no longer have the desire to “taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8)”. When was the last time that we are one with the Psalmist when he said:

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1–2)

Christian, is there a thirst in you now? Do you long for Him? Is there some craving, longing, and desire for Him somewhere in your heart? Don’t commit the mistake or don’t continue the mistake of thinking that the vanities of this world can ever satisfy that thirst. We hewn for ourselves cisterns which can hold no water. We know that a cistern is a large reservoir of water or any liquid. But when it comes to the satisfaction of the weary and thirsty soul, no size of cistern can ever fill it. No matter how large, it will always look broken thus it can never hold a water that satisfies. You see, no matter what things we make as our own means of finding joy — whether it is our hobbies, work, studies, endless TV series, gratification in social media, approval and appraise of men, and even relationships and our church ministries — we will never be joyful with joy that lasts. The reason for this is that it is only that in God’s presence the fullness of joy is found and satisfying pleasures are in Him alone (Psalm 16:11).

We oftentimes mock those who built an altar for themselves to put therein a god of their own imagination, crafted by hands. But have we come to realize that we may not have bowed down to idols made with hands but we have surely bowed down to idols made by our hearts? It is not whether we bow to tangible things or not — it is a matter of what really our desire is and where do our affections go. We have gone a long way from the Lord and like the prodigal son we have been wasting our lives playing the harlot and eating with pigs.

It is true that we have resolved to turn away from the Lord but there is still hope. We may be bombarded by lots of thoughts of confusion right now since we are lost in the wilderness but there is still hope. We can only hope to God’s sovereign will in order for us to be brought back to His fold. Here’s the Lord’s resolve after He stated His case against Israel:

But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 3:1)

The Lord will surely confront us and will tell us that we have sinned against Him. Our sin against Him is so serious that it is not just a silly mistake but a willful rebellion and an offence against Him. He clearly told Israel that they indeed played the harlot and this confrontation must have broken Israel’s heart to pieces. But the Lord, in His sovereignty, chose to respond to their idolatry with tender mercies. The Lord lovingly says, “Yet return to Me.”.

The same call is being spoken by the Lord to us right now. While we are backsliding, He is constantly calling us to return to Him. “How does He call us?”, one might ask. Well, aside from the sure presence of conviction of the Spirit of God in you right now, He has given you life today. This is God’s call for you:

Return, O backsliding children,” says the LORD; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. (Jeremiah 3:14)

The Lord said that He will take us to Himself for He is married to us. We are the church — the Lord’s bride and yet we, in our fragility, still play the harlot. But the Lord’s faithfulness is so great that it does not fail. He still considers Himself married to us. This is indeed a wonderful depiction of God’s love for His people. The call of the Lord is an effectual call that it is the only call that can turn the heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Surely, this loving call from our Good Shepherd will break our hearts that we will repent and acknowledge our iniquity before Him.

Return to Him. You may have left the Lord but He has never left you. The prodigal son left his father and wasted his life but when he came to his senses, he decided to go back to his father and when he returned, he found his father with great affection of love and with forgiveness in his eyes running towards him. Return to Him. Return to Him.

Like the Prophet Jeremiah, may this be our resolve everyday:

22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:22–24)

In this world, He is our portion which means that He is all we have. Yes, He is all we need but as one preacher always says, He is all we have. Therefore hope in Him alone. Do not trust yourself. As much as you don’t trust yourself for your salvation, don’t also trust yourself or anything else for your satisfaction.

The Lord is faithful. He saved you, so He will satisfy you. He justified you so He will surely sanctify you. Let us be one with the Apostle Paul in his resolve:

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

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