“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.”
The language of Ephraim and Judah in the text, implies a confession that they had departed from the Lord, and had gone into idolatry, and that the Lord in covenant faithfulness had humbled them by sore chastisement. As he had said in chapter v. 14, “For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah; I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.” These fearful judgments had been felt, and being thus abased before the Lord, their language is, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord.” They acknowledge that the hand of the Lord had been upon them, and that he alone could heal them. In the prophetic import of the subject, Judah and Ephraim appear to represent the church of God in her gospel organization, who, like the type, manifests a strong inclination to run into idolatry, by departing from the Lord in doctrine, in practice and in the discipline and order of his house. In all such cases, God is faithful to the provisions of his covenant. He will, and he does, visit the transgressions of his children with a rod, and their iniquities with many stripes, until they feel suitably humbled, feel a contrition of heart for their follies, and a desire to return to the order of the gospel. Then their language will be like that of Judah and Ephraim, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord.” They understand that afflictions have not arisen up out of the dust, nor their troubles come upon them by chance. The Lord has torn them, and he alone can heal the breach. When churches forsake the laws and ordinances of the gospel, depart from the simplicity of the doctrine and practice which he has laid down and enjoined, they soon become torn, divided and scattered, they lose that heavenly love and unity, so far as the sensible enjoyment of it is considered, and they are made to feel the folly of their course. With deep repentance they are then heard to say, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord,” for it is his hand that is upon us, and he alone can heal us. An assurance springs up in their heart; faith in them revived, lays hold of the new covenant promise that he will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities he will remember no more.
Jan. 1, 1855.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 3
Pages 150 - 151