THE BACKSLIDER BROUGHT BACK
“Yet doth He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him” [2 Sam 14:14]
The promise runs, “I will bring again that which was driven away” (Ezekiel 34:16). Guilt, temptation, Satan, doubts, and fears had driven them away from the shelter of the tabernacle. Yet the Lord has respect unto these also. He says, “I will bring again.” But how? By nothing but a sense of mercy.
It is not by frowns, but by smiles. “I drew them,” says the Lord, “with cords of a man” (that is, the tender feelings that are bound up in the human heart), “with bands of love.” You may thunder, you may lighten, you may take the whip and flog a poor backslider – but you can never flog him home. He must be drawn by mercy, by the goodness of God, which leadeth to repentance. [Rom 2:4]
How was Peter brought back? By that look which Jesus gave him, as he stood in the hall of the high priest; that look of mingled love and reproach. It was this that made Peter go out and weep bitterly. A frown would have driven him into despair, and made him hang himself by the side of Judas; but that look of mingled reproof and love wounded and healed, filled heart and eyes with the deepest grief and sorrow; and yet poured such a healing balm into his mourning soul that when Jesus was risen from the dead, and by His angel sent him a special message that He would see him again in Galilee, he leaped into the sea to meet Him, when He stood on the shore of the lake Tiberias.
But for that look and for that message, he would rather have leaped to the bottom with self-reproach, than leaped to the shore with love and affection. Thus was brought again poor driven-away Peter. And thus too, by the voice of pardon, was brought again poor driven-away David. For the Lord devises means that His banished be not expelled from Him.