August 14, 2021 | Hosea 6:4–6


This Month’s Issue

Our children are 9 and 12, and one aspect of parenting that currently requires great patience from me is reminding them (again and again and again) to clean their rooms. Too many Saturdays they complain about how long it takes. They know that it wouldn’t be such a big job if they kept things tidy all week long. They understand the instructions. We’ve even practiced strategies for change. They have even promised new behavior—repeatedly. Yet, on many Saturdays, we circle back to the same frustrating conversation.

To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

1 SAMUEL 15:22

I’m sure I’m not the only parent who can read their own experience into God’s exasperation with Israel in Hosea 6:4–6. I’m not the only one who has voiced some version of “if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times.” In these verses, God responded to Hosea’s invitation (6:1– 3) with a lament. “What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah?” (v. 4). It isn’t actually that God was out of ideas. He wasn’t scratching His head in confusion. Rather, He was expressing grief at His people’s foolish hard-heartedness.

He described their inconsistency with more metaphors. Their love was like the “morning mist” and the “early dew that disappears” (v. 4). God’s people knew His expectations. They understood God’s law and its intent. They had heard the history of the Lord’s faithfulness. They even offered sacrifices (v. 6). If God had told them once, He had told them a thousand times. But their devotion was still divided.

Hosea 6:4–6 underscores the nature of the true revival to which Hosea had called the people. It must result in deep and lasting change—in both belief and behavior. God desires our loyal love.

 While we might identify with the voice of God as a frustrated parent, who are we kidding? In this scenario, we are more often like those whose love is like morning mist. How would you describe your devotion to God?


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