A Call to Repentance
Open Your Bible
Amos 4:1-13, Hosea 6:1-3, Hosea 10:12, Hebrews 12:1-14
BY Liv Dooley
A call is meant to get our attention, but in order to understand how to answer the call, we must be able to discern the tone in which it was given.
Anyone who remembers being a child knows that a call on the playground while playing hide-and-seek only encouraged you to continue hiding in joyful suspense until the one who called you finally caught you. However, if you tried that with your parents once their stern voices started counting down, you would quickly realize that the consequences were quite different.
God’s call to repentance is no different from that of our parents, but the Israelites continued to treat it as if it were an inconsequential game of hide-and-seek.
The call to repentance God sent through the prophet Amos in chapter 4 demonstrates the power of relationship and the problem the Israelites had. The Israelites weren’t able to sense how to respond to God’s call because they had grown insensitive to His compassion. This chapter details the great lengths God had gone to in order to capture His people’s attention so that they could recognize their ways and turn back to Him, and it continues to show how necessary His discipline is.
Unfortunately, the Israelites treated God’s call of correction like it was the comedic amusement a child might find on a playground. So their consequences intensified.
Hosea 6:1–3 describes a circumstance where in their distress, the Israelites finally began to call on the Lord. But their cries were motivated by self-preservation instead of the sorrow the situation demanded and the sanctification the Lord required. The only appropriate response the Israelites could provide would be to cultivate righteousness and seek the Lord until He chose to send righteousness upon them like rain (Hosea 10:12). And God did—in His Son, Jesus. But not before He disciplined them. Why? Because the Lord disciplines those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6). Contrary to popular opinion, this discipline is compassionate because it is cultivated in love.
Prophecy is relational. We will sense the appropriate response to our Father’s call to repentance when we grow sensitive to His Spirit. Our great God is compassionate enough to require us to pursue righteousness so that we can enjoy being in relationship with Him. And when righteousness feels too hard to attain, we can remember that Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, already fulfilled it all.