One comedian described life with young children who are determined not to follow directions. “People without children have NO IDEA what it’s like,” he jokes. “Things that you do not even consider to be things will become nearly impossible (like leaving the house).” Every day, he says his older son won’t put on shoes while his younger son refuses to even come down the stairs. “Every day!” he laments. “Every single day!”
Having read about God’s love for His chosen people (His “son”), we might hope to hear from today’s passage about their ongoing relationship of obedience and care. Instead, Hosea 11:5–7 describes Israel’s return to captivity in Egypt and Assyria (v. 5). God lamented that they would lose their land to the sword. The gates of their cities would be destroyed. And their prideful plans would come to an end (v. 6). Why? Because they determined to turn from God (v. 7). They refused to repent (v. 5). Both verbs indicate a stubborn rebellion. Israel had not simply slipped into bad habits. They had dug in their heels in defiance.
Today’s passage provides an opportunity to talk about biblical repentance. What should it look like? David provides a good example. After his sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), David was confronted by a prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12). But rather than reacting in defiance, David owned his sin and penned Psalm 51—a model for the repentant heart.
In Psalm 51 we find David’s heart-rending confession. First, he acknowledged his wrongdoing (v. 3). Second, David understood how his actions separated him from God (v. 4). Third, he asked for accountability and wisdom in order to move forward in righteousness (v. 6). And fourth, he asked God to cleanse his heart, return his joy, and restore their intimacy.
>> What repentance is required in your life right now? Spend some time examining your heart. Is there a need to repent? Read Psalm 51 before you pray today.