God has asked Hosea to live out a physical picture of His relationship with Israel. Israel has not responded as God desires, so Hosea delivers God’s message through a series of word pictures. I am tempted to jump over the next several chapters of Hosea’s message. That would be an application of selective listening and that is never good.
“What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. (Hosea 6:4 NIV)
There are two verses that stuck out for me in this section. We don’t have any dew on the ground right now and the sky is filled with smoke rather than fog. We need moisture desperately, but we need moisture that drenches and cleanses. We need moisture that will last beyond the rising of the sun. God’s desire is for us to love Him with a lasting love, like a flood after days of drenching rain when the ground is saturated and there is water everywhere. Even that doesn’t capture God’s love for us. His love is beyond even the ocean which seems inexhaustible. This isn’t what God sees in Israel and Judah. He sees expressions of love that are momentary and quickly disappear in the heat of the day.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6 NIV)
God clearly expresses what He wants. He wants a people who love Him, a people who understand who He is and what He values. I think we understand this better than we want to acknowledge. We all want to be loved. We want someone to understand who we are and what is important to us. We want someone who will then partner with us in pursuing what is important to us.
I think the chorus of a popular Christian song captures this thought:
Help me want the Healer
More than the healing
Help me want the Savior
More than the saving
Help me want the Giver
More than the giving
Oh help me want You Jesus
More than anything
God desires for us to desire Him for who He is, not what He does. He also desires that our expressions of love demonstrate that we know who He is and what is important to Him. This has been hard for me to learn both with God and my wife. Before we got married I thought I was being romantic by giving her cut yellow roses to acknowledge special events in our lives. It took me far too long to figure out that she wasn’t like most other women. She loves flowers, but she wants live ones, and not ones that are dying.
God has no desire for religious activity of any type that is not filled with a desire for Him and love for others.
For my grandchildren:
Get to know God. You’ll love Him.