- Consider carefully in this remarkable passage the following points:
(a) why the Lord cast the people into exile (verses 16-19);
(b) why he brought them back (verses 20-24); and
(c) the change brought about in their moral and spiritual condition (verses 25-31). Reflect how closely the prophet’s teaching here anticipates the New Testament revelation of the steps by which God transforms a sinner into a saint. See particularly Rom.3, 5, 6 and 8.
- How will the change in the people and their restored prosperity affect the surrounding nations?
See verses 35, 36 and cf. John 17:21, 23.
- Verse 20. ‘They profaned my holy name’: because the nations, seeing them cast out, concluded their God and could not protect them. Cf. Ps.42:10.
- Verses 26. ‘Heart of stone’: cf. 2:4; 3:7; Zech. 7:12. ‘A heart of flesh’: i.e., sensitive to the divine Word.