A Call to Repentance

Open Your Bible

Hosea 6:1-11, Hosea 7:1-2, Isaiah 53:1-6, Isaiah 53:11, Matthew 12:1-8

There are so many different ways to know people. You can know a list of facts about a person, but that’s not the same as knowing the exact shade of blue in their eyes, their specific sense of humor, or the way they hold their shoulders when they’re tired. That is the knowing of intimacy and deep friendship.

Have you ever considered how God wants us to know Him like that?

Hosea gives a prophetic image of a God who is angry, yes, but also grieved. In our reading today, the CSB titles the section beginning with Hosea 6:4 “The LORD’s First Lament.” Here we’re given one image after another of God experiencing betrayal and sorrow. “Your love is like the morning mist and like the early dew that vanishes” (Hosea 6:4). In this we’re shown a glimpse of His desire for His people, for “faithful love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (v.6).

We aren’t making burnt offerings these days, but how often do we make sacrifices by trying to do all the right things for God? Throughout our messy history, we’ve devised all kinds of ways to try and stay on God’s good side. We wonder if praying the right prayers, reading the Bible, going to church, and doing good deeds will be enough. Some of us spend our whole lives wrestling with guilt and shame for what we don’t do. And some of us give up trying at all.

But these small lines in Hosea paint a different picture. The God who knows us so intimately that hairs on our head are numbered wants to be seen and known by us (Luke 12:7). What do we do with the idea of an infinite God identifying with our hurts, to the point of becoming human to suffer with us, “despised and rejected…a man of suffering who knew what sickness was” (Isaiah 53:3).

You can hear echoes of the Lord’s lament when Jesus quotes Hosea right back at the Pharisees who criticized His disciples for violating a small Sabbath rule. “If you had known what this means…” He says this to people who knew Scripture better than just about anyone (Matthew 12:7)! 

When we meet a God who wants to be sought and known, then we can hear the call to repentance in His lament. We don’t have to settle for just knowing about God in the form of facts and theological ideas. We don’t have to stay in a cycle of sacrificing and striving to try and keep God from getting mad at us either.

Hosea offers us a different invitation: “Let us strive to know the LORD. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land” (Hosea 6:3).

(54) Comments

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54 thoughts on "A Call to Repentance"

  1. Karen says:

    I’m a day behind, but so was struck by 6:2 that I felt compelled to comment. I’ve read Hosea multiple times, but seemed to have missed this prophetic verse. I have verses 3 and 6 underlined…but verse 2 is so good and points us to the cross and resurrection: “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.” (NRSV) Thanks be to God! I love that last part, “that we may live before him.” Without the cross and resurrection we were doomed to be apart from God forever, but He made the way for us to be near him.

    1. Gabrielle Glenn says:

      Love this thought Karen. My footnotes say this verse “shows that even after this fierce slaying (v1) they are not beyond the Lord’s healing.” Thank God for his grace and mercy on us.

  2. Kristen says:

    ( I wrote this in the morning after reading the replies, but I’m just posting now.) Kelly, I am unworthy too. Melanie, I also need for Him to create a clean heart in me. My mother in law referred to this Scripture in Ezekiel years ago when speaking to me: 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I have read and listened to a lot of His Word, but I am not proud to say that I’m not changed like I should be. My counselor, that I was seeing after my husband’s affair, said that I know about God but don’t know Him. I pray that God will forgive me and change me and all that are in the same situation.
    May my words, thoughts, actions, and interactions become pleasing to Him. Amen. I
    I read another devotional from Proverbs 31 ministries on the First 5 app or you can find at their website. The study just started on Colassians. After reading that I have this song in my head. I definitely need to show more mercy at times and be more like Jesus. https://youtu.be/fkYL1b7MCEw God bless you all today.

  3. Sky Hilton says:

    My dear sisters, I pray at the end of the day that we will all come back to God, repent, and realize how much He really does loves us. ❤️

  4. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I do t always think about How God desires is to love him, and how he has feelings, just like us. I pray I would learn to love him more.❤️

  5. Mercy says:

    If only you know that I will have mercy and not sacrifice, you wouldn’t condemn the guiltless (Matthew 12:7). Jesus justifies His disciples as guiltless for their hunger. He is truly our defender in the face of the law/ rules/ regulations here. He sees the true needs of His people deep down and pardon them as guiltless! People are so critical and judgmental towards people, but praise God that He is not like us. May we choose mercy toward others and condemn them not if we see our brothers/sisters stumble.

  6. Beverly Watley says:


  7. Abigail Berger says:


  8. Dorothy says:

    WOW!!! Jen’s message was deep and insightful. I got a lot out of it and felt like she could read me. When she asked, “What do we do with the idea of an infinite God identifying with our hurts, to the point of becoming human to suffer with us…”. I had to really contemplate on this. Also, her second to last paragraph I had to copy because I wanted to be able to refer back to it, it’s some powerful stuff.
    Be blessed and let the Lord shine on your day today, sisters.