While my mother-in-law loved Jesus and pursued Him passionately, Dad Worrall wanted nothing to do with God—until he contracted terminal cancer at the age of 56. When the doctor delivered the diagnosis, Dad W. took Mum to the hospital chapel and told her, “You’re going to have to help me.” He recognized that eternal answers could only be found in her faith. But even then, he didn’t give his life to Christ. Three months before he died—he finally and humbly cried out to God. Graciously, God provided relief from his physical pain. But even more significant than that, God transformed his heart. He spent his last several weeks loving his family in ways he hadn’t done before.
Today’s passage describes Hosea’s invitation to a similar point of repentance. The people’s pain had not been without purpose; it had opened their eyes to their depraved position and to the healing power that could only be found in the Lord. Hosea 6:1–2 expresses both God’s ability and His willingness to reverse the punishments previously described (4:15—5:14). The same God who tore them apart, described with graphic detail in the last chapter, expresses here His longing to heal. “He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us” (6:1). The same God who had injured them would bind up their festering wounds. He would revive and restore and dwell with them (v. 2).
All that was needed for this beautiful scene to take place was for God’s people to turn from idolatry, denounce their dependence on their own military strength, and acknowledge Him as Lord of all. If they would do these things, He promised to renew and revive them. Notice the beautiful and refreshing promise in verse three.
>> Many Christians have been praying for revival since the COVID-19 pandemic began—praying that all of the pain would lead our nation to repentance. The God of Hosea’s time is still as “sure as the sun” and as life-giving as the “spring rain” (v. 3).
Almighty Father, because we can’t trust people not to fail, it can be difficult to trust You. But we want to have more than the faith of a mustard seed. Build up our faith in You so we can pray boldly.