Above all else, God desires sincere and pure devotion. He wants steadfast love rather than sacrifice, relationship over meaningless offerings. He created man for fellowship. This is God’s heart, His purposes, and His chief desire as we explored on Wednesday in Hosea 6:6. But this was not Israel’s attitude towards God. This was not the kind of relationship she had with her Creator.
Why? Because she broke her sacred covenant with God. She followed in the footsteps of Adam and became a transgressor. She dealt faithlessly with her eternal Love.
Dew like love, insincere confessions, spiritual adultery, love for raisin cakes, hard-hearted stubbornness. Israel was missing the mark quite a bit in her attempts to pursue pleasure and vain glory while also trying to retain God’s blessing and favor. She wanted to appease her sinful desires while also claiming the promises of God.
So she voiced insincere confessions, she continued ritualistic sacrifices, and she sought to keep the outward appearance of the Law. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t what God wanted.
If you had any doubts about Hosea 6:1-3 being a false confession, God’s response should settle the question in your mind. It did for me. After Israel’s eloquent and verbose declaration to return, God doesn’t even acknowledge it. He doesn’t pat them on the back and say, “Oh good for you! I’m glad that I was finally able to get through to you!” On the contrary! His response is more along the lines of, “You still don’t get it, do you?”
“Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
This is probably one of the most well-known passages in Hosea. Often quoted in reference to God’s faithfulness and His desire to bring restoration, this passage is generally looked on in a positive light—a confession of sincere repentance, an acknowledgement of the need to return. But is it?