The consideration of God’s judgments upon us because of sin should awaken us to return to God by repentance, prayer and reformation.
He who has smitten us will bind us up if we humbly return to Him.
1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
4 ¶ O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.
6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.
8 Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.
9 And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.
10 I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
11 Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people.
Hosea 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Hosea 6:3—If we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning.
You may always count on God. If there is variation in his relations with us, it is on our side, not on his. Just as surely as we return to Him, we shall find Him running to meet and greet and receive us with a glad welcome.
The exquisite words of the text derive additional beauty when we consider them in the light of modern astronomy. The spot on which we live, when the day is done, slowly turns away from the face of the sun; and as each moment passes, plunges further and further from its wholesome, blessed light. At midnight we look out into the abyss of space in the opposite direction to the solar throne. But the moment when we have reached our furthest from the sun is followed by another, in which we begin to return to the light and glory of the perfect day. So when the soul has reached its furthest from God, it may immediately return to Him. Let us return. Let us know. Let us follow on to know the Lord.
Is there any doubt about our reception? No; there cannot be. Look again at the analogy of the physical night. During our absence the sun has not shifted from his place. We shall find him waiting for us; his going forth is prepared. We have but to pass into his blessed beams, which had not ceased to pour forth through the hours, which to us were so cold and dark. So our God is always waiting for us. He is just where we left Him. In Him can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning. As certainly as we count on the dayspring may we count on God. Move then God-wards, through the dark hours. On the third day—the day of Resurrection—He will burst on your view. (Meyer)
Hosea 6:3 – The Lord has brought us into the pathway of the knowledge of Him, and bids us pursue that path through all its strange meanderings till it opens out upon the plain where God’s throne is. Our life is a following on to know the Lord. We marvel at some of the experiences through which we are called to pass: but afterward we see that they afforded us some new knowledge of our Lord. Our path suddenly disappeared in some hideous cavern where we seemed to hear the roaring of wild beasts; and we could not at all conceive what benefit would arise from our entering; but we entered; and when by a favoring passage we emerged from that obscurity and danger, we felt that we had obtained some new and valuable insight into the divine character. Again, our path shot right down into the impenetrable darkness of some deep pit; it was some time before our eyes got accustomed to that darkness; then we discovered a little door, and soon found ourselves in a gallery of hidden treasures, several of which we gathered and still retain. Pursing thus the knowledge of God we found ourselves like Joseph in Egypt, alone in the midst fo a nation that knew not God; and found that there was something here to be learned concerning the divine perfection that could not be learned elsewhere. We have not then to wait for some future brighter opportunity; but by improvement of the present are to build for ourselves a bridge to that future. (Bowen)
Hosea 6 – ”Let Us Return unto the LORD.”
How full Scripture is of tender invitations: Come, and let us return! This opening verse is closely connected with 5:15. The hand that smote was the Father’s who waited to welcome the prodigal nation with healing and up-binding. When the sun seems to dip below the horizon, we begin to travel toward its rising again. Then we follow on, to behold the glorious dawn of the next day, which is prepared for us. Presently we catch the first glimpse, and soon come into its full splendor. The sun does not move toward us, but we toward it. So when the soul turns toward God, if only it is willing to do his will, it has begun to follow on toward the light of his countenance, which presently will be revealed in its full radiance. God’s favor is also compared to the fertilizing rain, for its certainty and refreshment (Genesis 8:22).
While God’s love is constant, our religious life is fickle and changeful. Emotion is evanescent as the morning clouds, which in Palestine vanish by nine or ten o’clock. Our Lord quoted v. 6 in Matthew 9:13; 12:7. The pomp of outward ritual, however ornate, counts less with God than one contrite sigh or tear. (Meyer)