In those days and in that time, declares the LORD, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come, and they shall seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, 'Come, let us join ourselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will never be forgotten.'
Even as Judah was in the earliest days of the Babylonian captivity, God spoke promises through His prophet Jeremiah that the remnant would return to the land of Israel. The way God would bring this about would be through judgment on Babylon itself. When Babylon fell as an empire, the stage would be set for the return of the Jews to their homeland.
And the beautiful thing about the return was that the Jews would return a changed people. The text here gives several evidences of changed hearts. They would first of all unite together to return to their homeland. That unity had been missing among the Jews for many generations. Unity was a sign of a changed nation.
Secondly, they would display strong emotion at the return. They would journey back to Israel weeping tears of joy and sorrow as they went. A third change would be in their hearts toward God. They would actively seek God as a nation. They would no more be torn by their idolatrous urges. The nation would wholeheartedly seek the LORD.
A fourth change would come in the "destination". They would not stop until they reached Zion and the ruins of the temple. They would seek out the place of God's worship and make it the focus of their return. The final mark of change would be shown in their willingness to once again enter into covenant with God. Their love for God would manifest itself in obedience to the Law. And they would apply themselves to live as people of the covenant.
Real repentance brings about real change. It is a change in heart and attitude as well as a change in lifestyle. And it keeps as its center the desire to know and love God and follow His commands.