Several times in Jeremiah he invites the wayward children of Israel to come back home to the God of their fathers. Jeremiah 3:22 is another invitation to come home. It says, “Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness.” The last part of the verse expresses what 25 paid in fullJeremiah hopes the people will say, “Behold, we come to you, for you are the LORD our God.” It’s another invitation. In Chapter 3 alone he indicts the nation for their sin but always concludes with an invitation. As Ryken observes, “Four times he speaks in this passage to invite his people to come back home. These invitations need to be underscored.” We should pay close attention to them because in those invitations we can see God’s heart for His people.

The commentators are divided on the interpretation of the last part of verse 22. Martens explains the three interpretation options, “One interpretation is that verses 22b–25 are the people’s response of confession, and that God’s welcome is in Jeremiah 4:1. Another is that as in Hosea 14:2. God is placing words in their mouths to show what ‘turning’ would mean: these are the words they should say. A third interpretation is that these are insincere mouthing’s of repentance, and that 4:1 is essentially a rejection.[1] Again, regardless of the reaction of people, I suggest that the important point of the invitations is that we see what’s on God’s heart.

Ryken goes on to say, “As we listen to everything Jeremiah has to say about sin and judgment, we may find ourselves asking, ‘Where is the grace?’ When I preached a long series of sermons on Jeremiah, someone in the congregation confessed that Jeremiah sometimes made him feel like hiding under his pew. This is understandable. But when the grace of God does come in Jeremiah’s book, it shines like a lighthouse on a stormy night. God’s grace is inviting. ‘Return, faithless Israel … for I am merciful’ (v. 12). ‘Return, faithless people … for I am your husband’ (v. 14). ‘Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding’ (v. 22). ‘If you will return, O Israel, return to me’ (4:1). The message is starting to get through. Even though you have been unfaithful to God, like a cheating wife or a prodigal son, God loves you and wants you to come back home. If God gave gracious invitations in Jeremiah’s day, he gives them all the more in our own day, because now he has given us Jesus Christ. The gospel is full of sweet invitations.”[2]

[1] E. A. Martens, Jeremiah, Believers Church Bible Commentary (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1986), 56.

[2] Philip Graham Ryken, Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 66–67.