“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.” Hosea 6:1
Israel had forsaken the Lord and instead cherished another, other gods, and other idols. They rejected knowledge, and understanding was far from them. God, the loving and providing husband, had been faithful, though his wife had been drinking from other wells. He was faithful, and did only good to her. He was faithful, but required repentance.
You and I are not removed from this story. We are the prostitute, and the unfaithful bride. We are the wife, and are guilty. We are guilty of faithlessness. Our actions have wrought shame, and distress. We are in need of forgiveness (Hosea 5:15).
“They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but no multiply, because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.” Hosea 4:1
Left to our own vices, we choose lovers of unrighteousness, which cause us to forget the Lord—the worst kind of amnesia. Again and again, we eat our fill and leave no room for the provider. We are left unsatisfied, and in need of more (Hosea 4:10). This is the good design of God, that we would be unsatisfied in anything that is not him. We are like sheep, silly and without sense. And our loving Shepherd will not hold back his corrective discipline. He desires for us to know him and to love him steadfastly, even if he must break our legs for us to obey.
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6
The good news is that we need the discipline of our God, in order that we might be restored. Oh, that we would be thankful for his outstretched arm. For he rips us apart that he may stitch us up; he strikes us down that he might bind once more. Oh, that we may know this God, who revives us from death. Brothers and sisters let us encourage one another to repentance, as well as remind one another that in the Vally of Achor (trouble) our God is a door of hope. It is God who breaks unruly sinners, and it is God who betroths himself to us, promising faithfulness to his bride forevermore.
“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20