Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth. (Hosea 6:1-3)
God Will Raise Us Up
The conditions for the prophet Hosea were anything but godly. He lived in a world where the sinfulness of Israel and the religious and political leaders were corrupted by idolatry and the land filled with whoredom. Hosea was tasked by God to bear the burden of the decadence of the nation as he would marry a woman who would be unfaithful to him on numerous occasions. Three children would be born to his wife Gomer but only the first child belonged to Hosea. After Gomer went off to be with her lovers, God told Hosea to take her back and he did. All of his life was a symbolic parable of Israel and God and the everlasting mercy of God to seek the restoration of Israel. Israel was unfaithful to her marriage covenant with the Lord but the promises made by God would always make a way for Israel to return and receive the blessings of the Lord again. There is a deep message of love in the book of Hosea as an example of how often the Lord has shown His love for a rebellious people. The forgiveness of the Lord could only come from hearts that repented and sought the favor of God for cleansing. Using the nations around Israel, the Lord brought swift justice against the people to punish them for their ungodliness. He tore them apart, inflicted many plagues, pestilence, and miseries upon them in His wrath all to convince Israel to repent. Hosea calls for the people to return to the Lord and receive His everlasting mercy. In the face of all their wickedness, God was willing to take them back if they would but return. The door of grace was always available but opening the door would only come from the desires of the people to come to the Lord. Through the prophets, the voice of salvation was heard appealing to the rebellious hearts to seek the favor of the Lord. He had done many terrible things against Israel but they could still return if their hearts were willing.
Forgiveness comes from the mind of God. Although He had torn Israel and injured the nation, His love was able to heal them and bandage the injuries brought by His wrath. All things were done in His time but the wrath of the Lord was followed by His loving care if they would return to Him. The nature of forgiveness has always been when the Lord exacts affliction He is willing to restore and raise up again those who seek Him with penitent hearts. His punishment is not final. There were many terrible things that had happened to Israel and all of those measures were given to rebuke the hardened heart of Israel. This was done to seek their restoration. If the Lord was not so gracious, there would be no reason to seek His pleasure. Like the prodigal son who ran away from his father and wasted his life in a far country, he knew he had a father who was full of love, mercy, grace, and kindness to forgive him if he acknowledged his sin and repented. When the boy returned to his home, the father welcomed him with open arms as he heard the words of repentance. Israel would find the love of God in allowing the remnant of Israel to return because God was a gracious and kind Father. Like the gentle rains of summer that follow the hard days of drought, God’s mercies would fill the earth with His blessings. Forgiveness comes when people repent. What was torn apart will be put back and the afflictions of God’s wrath will give way to His unmeasured grace.
Sin destroys and brings its own measure of misery. Jesus died and rose from the dead so that men could see the eternal love of God to bind what was broken and heal what was destroyed. There is an eternal Father willing to forgive if one would come and return to Him. The action of faith must precede the favor of the Lord. Hosea told the people they must first come before God would heal them. His grace was always there but if they did not take opportunity for His grace, it could not remove their sin. Returning to the Lord demanded a penitent heart and a willing mind to serve the Lord. Through the knowledge of the Lord, truth is found that opens up the pathways of forgiveness. Faith comes from the word of God appealing to the willing mind to acknowledge failure before God, seek His mercy and come to the Lord for cleansing. When a man fills his heart with godly sorrow it will lead him to repentance and ultimately the pleasure of the Lord. Although sin has torn the life of the individual and stricken many arrows into the heart of the righteous, the eternal Father will heal the broken spirit and bandage the wounds inflicted by sin. Forgiveness is the message of God to tell all men that He desires for them to live in His sight. The Lord is not willing that any man should perish but that all men would accept His grace, come and repent and be raised up by His grace and dwell with Him eternally. That is the great message of hope from the beginning of time. Man was created for the glory of God. Sin temporarily tore that apart but through the blood of Jesus Christ, the joy of salvation can be found in His grace and mercy. Come, and let us return to the Lord.