The Prophets

Hosea – Part 3 of 5

The Apathy

Hosea 6:6 – For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Israel brought their burnt offerings to the temples, some making the long journey to Dan or Bethal to make the sacrifice to the golden calf. They were so misguided and their knowledge of God was completely skewed.  The Lord asks, “What shall I do with you? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away” (6:4). The love that Israel had for God after coming out of Egypt was fleeting at best. They were fickle with their affection, chopping and changing like the direction of the wind. In their present trouble they thought they could attain the help they needed and appease God at the same time:

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. 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.”

The people thought, ‘we will call and he will answer; he always does’ but God could see right through their false sentiments. They lamented over their suffering rather than over their sin. The Lord had taken them back so many times that they took his love and his help for granted. They expect him to forgive and forget but he says,

“They do not consider that I remember all their evil… All their kings have fallen and none of them calls upon me… Woe to them, for they have strayed from me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against me… They do not cry to me from the heart.”

God demands true repentance from a sincere heart and that only comes through genuine love. Shallow repentance is just a lie and when we sow lies, we reap destruction – “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Israel thought they were sowing power, privilege and prestige but in abandoning their union with the Lord they would soon reap calamity and captivity.

Sowing and reaping is used a lot in Scripture and it is something we need to take heed of. If we sow to our own desires and to the things of the flesh, the only thing we will reap is corruption. If we sow to the will of God, we will reap the spiritual gifts of the kingdom.

God desires an intimate relationship with his people, a relationship built on steadfast love, faithful obedience and a true knowledge of who he really is.

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