God's making a final attempt to sway Israel's heart back to Him. He's given them the metaphor of the prophet and his unfaithful wife; and He has shown them "in court" their indictment and verdict. Now comes the response from the people.
On a personal note, in college God gave me the first three verses of this chapter and met me in a very personal way. In some ways, I consider myself charismatic in my Christian faith because of the times when God met me in very personal ways.
Come, let us return to the Lord, for He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him. So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.Hosea 6: 1-3
Israel has the right words. The problem is, they say them as if God's longsuffering is endless. He is love; but He is righteousness. And Israel doesn't seem to appreciate how far and how long they have treated Him like a husband who will always take beck the prostitute wife. That metaphor was to show Israel how poorly they treated Him; not to encourage them that they had endless freebies.
But as always, it's so easy to judge Israel and yet it is never long before a parallel is illuminated in my own life.
I've mentioned my food issues before and I stumble time and again. It sounds benign. It's just food, not crack, not fentanyl, not street racing...but killing me just as certainly.
The good is, just as noted by the people of Israel, there will be a day. He will revive us and bring this middle time to an end. He will raise us up and wash us clean.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.
MacArthur describes these verses as Hosea prophesying the future words of repentance of Israel. I love that!
"He will revive us after two days." is a common reference to a quick outcome, a quick healing; and not a reference to the resurrection.
Wiersbe sees this differently than MacArthur. To him, it sounds like the guilty person at a trial turning on the tears of regret because they are in peril, not out of genuine remorse. His evidence is in the words God speaks about their "confession". He is not moved.
Wiersbe points out that the people focused on healing, and a quick healing at that; instead of a broken spirit of repentance and the grief and worship that comes with it. They claimed that if they just called out to Him, He would heal them quickly and as set as the sunrise and the spring rain. They thought they knew the correct incantation to get the desired result from God. Not relationship; not responsibility; but an ATM machine- spitting out requests with the right inputs.
God is not an ATM machine. He owes us exactly nothing. He ties Himself with His promises, but ATM outs were never promised.
It's about a relationship and it's about His Plan; His Will; His glory. Lose sight of that and you're truly lost.
Boy, am I glad I didn't understand any of that in college. God can speak from His Word, even out of context. And He did. He met me in a park, in the rain, in my college town- and changed my faith and who I was forever. I had been a Christian for years, but I never truly placed all of me at His feet, for His will. It would take years to walk out what He worked into me in that season of my life (and of course I still have many miles to go...) but by His grace alone, I will press on to know Him more and more.
Beginning in verse 4, the Lord responds and it is not with the ATM dispenser that they expected.
Ouch. "...your loyalty is like a morning cloud."
He doesn't seem to have much confidence in their "repentance."
The word used for loyalty, hesed, is also translated lovingkindness, steadfastness, and stresses the faithful love in a love relationship. That seems even more painful. Not just their loyalty being questioned, but their part in a loving relationship. Which is 1000% fair. They were not faithful to Him at any time since the rebellion of Jeroboam I.
MacArthur says it this way- they violated the marriage (covenant) vows.
Verse 5 makes the consequences clear- hewn, slain, and judgement are the keys here.
In a familiar pattern, in verse 6, is the idea that He loves loyalty over sacrifice and knowledge of God over burnt offerings. He has feelings and will not be treated as the ATM- required to spit out certain blessings if specific offerings are made. He's not a wooden statue meant to provide false confidence.
But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; there they have dealt treacherously against Me.Hosea 6:7
Verses 8 and 9 paint a grim picture of the heart of the men in Ephraim. Full of wrong-doers, tracked with bloody footprints, raiders, murderous priests...pretty ghastly description of His people.
Verse 10 seems to be the final verdict on Israel; while verse 11 offers some home to their neighboring brother, Judah.