Friday, January 15, 2016
“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)
In the middle of telling the Jews how God felt about their actions, Hosea cried out for them to surrender to God and follow him. The things they were suffering were the result of his punishment. If they would turn back and obey him, in just a few days they would start to see changes in their situation, and they would be able to tell it was God causing their suffering. If they would do so, the blessings would fall like rain on the earth.
“O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:4-6)
Israel and Judah really looked good when they started out, serving and obeying God. In just a little while their obedience evaporated like an early morning cloud or the dew when the sun comes out. Because they turned away, God sent prophets to warn them and try to get rid of their sin, like a nurseryman pruning fruit trees. When that didn’t work, he allowed them to be attacked and many killed. Other nations were impressed how fair their laws were. The Queen of Sheba had been impressed in Solomon’s day, and Hammurabi wrote his code during the time of the judges. Those laws showed what God really wanted, that he loves mercy, a willing ness to forgive when people ask rather than efforts to buy off his anger. He loves a desire to know and please God more than all the offerings we could ever give.
“But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood. And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness. I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled. Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people.” (Hosea 6:7-11)
Instead of trying to please God, obeying what he said, the entire family of Israel has betrayed God. In the area east of Jordan, there was hardly any moral standard and almost anything was ignored. The priests had become like a band of robbers, offering asylum to murderers and other criminals and being involved in sin themselves. What Hosea was seeing was horrible, with the leaders of Israel worshipping other things instead of God, and the entire nation being involved with sin as a result. Even worse, the nation of Judah was going along with it to the point God was fixing to judge them as well, causing them to go into captivity along with the others. They were acting just like other people instead of like God’s chosen people.