The Book of Hosea is a challenging and convicting book. In chapter five of Hosea, the punishment of the Lord is front and center. The author will provide the reader with examples of their widespread unrepentance (Hosea 6:4-7:16). And yet, sandwiched in between these two sections is a brief responsive prayer of repentance (Hosea 6:1-3). Hosea knows that his readers need some reprieve; we need an opportunity to offer the kind of repentance that his harsh prophetic words are intended to evoke. Hosea’s prophecy is punctuated by repentance.

Consider Hosea 6:1, “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.” Here we learn the purposes of the Lord in judgment and punishment. He tears that He may heal; He strikes down that He may bind up. Everything that Hosea is writing is intended to help us say, “Let us return to the Lord!”

Every Christian should earnestly desire to honor the Lord in every aspect of their lives. No Christian will do this perfectly this side of eternity. We will be perfected only when we see the Lord face to face in heaven when we die. This is why the Christian life from beginning to end is one of ongoing repentance. With that said, God is intent on severing your ties with your idols. You and I must endure momentary trials or pain since they are intended to drive us toward God rather than away from Him.

How do we know that God ultimately uses trials for our good? Because He underwent the ultimate trial in our place! In Jesus Christ, God Himself was struck down in order that He might bind us up; He was torn in order that He might heal us. He received the judgment and punishment we deserved so that we might receive the acceptance and reward that He deserved.

And when Hosea 6:2 promises resurrection, it is ultimately pointing to the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Luke 24:46; 1 Cor. 15:4), which is the assurance of our own future resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). This astounding grace gives us the assurance that God’s people will be embraced when they “Return to the Lord.” May this self-giving love of God lead you to cry to the Lord, to seek Him, and to offer the steadfast love He desires.