Devotional of the week: Return (6 in Hosea series)

Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. (Hosea 6:1-6)

Sunrise in Spain.

Sunrise in Spain.

This week we see Hosea imploring God’s people to repent and return to the Lord. He calls upon nature to make his case to them, knowing their hardened hearts, for even as the sun rises every day, or as the rains come regularly, so too will the Lord heal and restore.

Yet the Lord desires real change, and looks beneath the exterior practices to the state of the heart (v.6). Jesus quoted this verse about God wanting mercy and not sacrifice to the Pharisees, namely when they were complaining about him eating with tax collectors (Matthew 9:13) and over his disciples and their Sabbath practices (Matthew 12:7).

A recurring theme we’re seeing in this Old Testament book is that God desires all of us. He isn’t interested in the trappings of religion – about whether we slavishly give our tithe or read the Bible daily. For if our hearts are right, of course we’ll joyfully share our financial resources with others. And we’ll yearn to read his word, for it will taste as sweet as honey. God does not want us to be as the morning mist that the sun burns off rapidly. Rather he desires us to be solidly formed, rooted in him as a branch is grafted into the vine.

Hosea issued the invitation to God’s people to return to him. How may this plea touch you today? Are you disappointed because you’ve asked God for that you haven’t received? Or perhaps you’ve prayed for so long for a certain individual and you’re doubting that change is possible. The scenarios are manifold, but God’s love remains the same. He longs for us to return fully to him, giving him our hurts and unbelief. He will restore us and make us to be solid oaks of righteousness, for his name’s sake.

Prayer: Father God, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.

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