Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.
I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.
Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.
These verses make me think of natural processes like the law of gravity or the water cycle. There is a rhythm of life. Usually when a person falls, they get back up. When an object falls, we pick it up. When we move in a certain direction, we return to the starting point.
Not so with the people in these verses. They turned away from God and stayed there. The word perpetual here does not refer to a constant going forward and then back again. It refers to a permanent position. They had turned away from following God, and refused to return. In verse seven, God exclaims that even the animals know when to come and go, but His own people defy nature in not recognizing the consequences of their backsliding.
I can think of many today who would fall into this category.
But I must examine my own heart. Is there any area of my life, any shadowy corner filled with the dust of of "perpetual backsliding?" Have I swept into the corner a few crumbs of resentment, bitterness, or pride. Have I tucked away a secret "little" sin or refused to do something God has clearly instructed me to do? Am I rushing into battle, having deceived myself into thinking that I can hide this little thing? No one will ever notice and God will never judge me since I'm doing so many things right....
Lord, help me not to be deceived. Show me my transgression (Isaiah 58:1), and create in me a clean heart, O God.... (Psalm 51:10)