Summary: “Come, let us return to the Lord.” (Hosea 6:1) Jesus went to the house of many tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees saw this and asked why Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners. In that context Jesus Quotes Hosea 6:6 (found in Matthew 9:13).
The story of the prodigal son gives us a great picture of repentance. The prodigal has messed up big time and ended up in a terrible situation, eating pig slop just to survive. That situation made him turn back to his father. But you don’t have to wind up on skid row to need repentance. A Christian with a superficial, spiritually shallow Christianity has the same need for true repentance.
Read Hosea 5:1-6:11
Having spiritual shallowness was God’s complaint to Israel. It was Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees too. As a matter of fact, Jesus quotes from this part of the book of Hosea to rebuke the spiritual shallowness of the Pharisees.
It is a stark warning to Christians not to simply go through the motions. It is a call back to God for us to live in the supernatural of God. Like the spiritual power of the early Christians who turned their world upside down. That will never happen with superficial religion. It will happen only with a deep and genuine commitment to Christ.
God’s call to Israel Hosea 5:1-7
God sends a wake-up call to the sleepy Israelites. Listen up! Hear! Pay attention!
The songwriter Keith Green in his song Asleep in the Light, gave a wake-up call to Christians. He asks “How can you be so dead when you have been so well fed? Jesus died on the cross and you can’t even get out of bed.”
Sin deafens our ears. A shallow spiritual life makes us hard of hearing to God. That was the problem in Israel. Will anybody listen? Priests? People? Government?
In Hosea 5:2 God speaks of discipline for his shallow people. The purpose of the discipline is to help them listen and turn back to God. When God’s people turn a deaf ear to Him, then He uses drastic measures to bring them back. That is because He loves them.
This nation paralleled Hosea’s domestic life with Gomer. His wife committed adultery, prostitution and ultimately, she was sold on the salve block. She produced illegitimate children the prophet. Hosea subjected his wife to a life of discipline after he bought her back from the slave block.
These verses lay out the reasons they would not return. These same problems can keep Christians in a spiritual shallow condition. It was their Pride and Arrogance. (Hosea 5:4-5)
Their pride kept them from repentance. Their deeds will not allow them to return to God. (Hosea 5:4) They were living lives of immorality with no moral standards. A spiritual harlotry in the form of worshiping other gods, idolatry. (Hosea 5:4b)
The people brought children into the world which knew nothing of God’s Holy character. Children born into spiritually perilous times. (Hosea 5:7)
Impending Judgment Hosea 5:8-15
When there is a disaster, whether it be a flood an earthquake or a famine we need to be careful in attributing it to God’s judgment. But God has and does use disasters as Judgment to get the attention of an entire people. Any disaster is worth doing some soul searching and asking God if this disaster was His Judgement.
A nurse once told me that my injury from a bicycle accident, a broken shoulder, was the judgment of God because she said I was “too fond of my bike”. I did not even really know her. I had led her nephew to the Lord. But it gave me cause for reflection. When I looked at what I wrote in my prayer journal I really sensed she was wrong to attribute my accident to the judgment of God in my life. But it was certainly worth reflection.
The Prophets and the holy remnant suffered, and it was the sin of the people that brought it on. In this case the disaster was the judgment of God for the sin of the people.
Sound the trumpet of alarm. People need to know. The building is on fire in a spiritual sense. They need to know. They need to hear the warning. (Hosea 5:8)
The Judgment of God is coming with the goal of God bringing His people to true repentance. To turn them back to God. The affliction was so that they would seek the face of God. (Hosea 5:15)
The nation of Assyria might be the claws and teeth that tears Israel apart, but God ultimately God would be the one who tears them apart as a wild animal tears prey. But God has a much different reason. God’s purpose is to discipline them in love. To bring them back from their practice of spiritual harlotry and religious superficiality. (Hosea 5:14)
Maybe judgment would bring them back to see their spiritual need. (Hosea 5:15) When the moth eats an expensive garment it is quiet and subtle. Drifting into a serious spiritual condition can happen in a way that goes unnoticed for a long time. (Hosea 5:12)