I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
— Sin is here characterised as an offence.
1. It is committed against God.
2. It is contrary to the nature and judgment of God.
3. It awakens the indignation of God.
I. BECAUSE OF SIN, GOD WITHDRAWS HIMSELF FROM HIS PEOPLE.
1. He goes and returns to His place, when He leaves His people in the hands of their enemies, and does not interfere.
2. When He removes from them the ordinances of His grace — the symbols of His presence.
3. When He allows these to continue, but is not in them.
4. When He leaves them to insensibility under His dealings.
5. When the soul, feeling His absence, seeks for Him in vain.
II. GOD'S WITHDRAWAL FROM HIS OFFENDING PEOPLE IS NOT ABSOLUTE AND FOR EVER.
1. Though God withdraws from His people, He does not cease to love them.
2. He never withdraws His spirit and grace for their preservation in the faith.
3. He never withdraws from them finally, and so as never to return.
4. Sometimes, when He withdraws in the way of ceasing to afford sensible comfort, He is present in the way of restraining, and defending, and sanctifying — in the way of chastisement. There are degrees in the withdrawings of God.
III. THAT GOD RETURNS TO HIS PEOPLE WHEN THEY ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR OFFENCE AND SEEK HIS FACE.
1. They must acknowledge their offence. This implies that they have discovered it. That they see its enormity. That they are contrite and penitent. That they forsake it. That they go to Christ's blood.
2. They must seek God's face. They feel that their comfort is in God only. They mourn and lament His absence. They seek Him in the appointed ordinances of His house. They seek Him by prayer. They are dissatisfied with the choicest of means and ordinances, if God be not in them. They seek Him in Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.