Return to Me

Return to Me
Zechariah 1:1-6

When we walked in our own ways
Your anger burned against our sin
We ignored Your holy word
And closed our hearts time and again

“Return to Me,” You would say;
“Return to Me, I’ll make you new;
Return to Me,” You would say,
“And I will return to you.”

Now in You we’re born again
And through Your Son we can draw near
But we still stumble and fall
And our weak hearts rejoice to hear

“Return to Me,” You still say;
“Return to Me, I’ve made you new;
Return to Me,” You would say,
“My Spirit lives in you.”

Song Notes

Zechariah writes to returned exiles; a broken, bruised people returned to a broken city with a broken temple. The people needed to deal honestly with their sin, and they needed to have hope that the exile was not a permanent end to the covenants and promises of God.

Zechariah’s first sermon begins ominously: Yahweh was extremely angry with their forefathers. This was an obvious point; His anger was evident in the rubble all around them. It was ominous, because the lingering doubt and fear of the people was that this anger would continue forever. “So tell the people,” Yahweh says. So = Because of this anger, say this.

Amazingly, the message is one of gospel hope, not condemnation. Three times in verse 3 God says “Yahweh of Hosts says this”; He has not forsaken His people, but on the contrary has come to them in their distress and speaks a sure word to them. “I have come to Zechariah to come to you to say this: return to Me, and I will return to you.” What a word of hope!

I tried to capture this threefold assurance in the song by repeating the line “Return to Me” three times in the chorus. The gracious offer of God is to open His arms in love to wayward sinners and plead with them to turn away from evil ways and deeds and turn to life. He comes to sinners who aren’t seeking Him (see Romans 3) and seeks them out Himself. Then He changes their hearts to now want what He freely offers (see Zechariah 1:6b).

I had the privilege of preaching on this text in December 2013. You can hear that sermon here. This song was written in preparation for preaching Zechariah 1:7-21 at Grace Community Church on June 1, 2014.

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