1 Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. 2 After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. 3 Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth” (Hosea 6:1–3, NKJV).
The prophet Hosea set out God’s case against Israel and her sins against Him (Hosea 4:1). His people had betrayed His love and turned to her lovers (Hosea 2:2, 4-5; 4:11-12). What could Israel do to avoid punishment for her adulterous idolatry (Hosea 2:12-13)? “Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts (Hosea 2:2).” Only by returning to the Lord could the nation escape the outcome of her sins. But there was “no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). Israel had “ceased obeying the Lord” and joined herself to the idols (Hosea 4:10, 17-19). Judgment was certain (Hosea 8:7-13). God continues to seek His lost sheep, calling His people to come back to Him when they fall into sin (Matt. 18:10-14). The Lord will revive the heart of the fallen when they “return to the Lord” with repentant, prayerful confession of their sins to Him (Acts 8:22-24; 1 John 1:9). The Lord’s hand can reach and restore the fallen who return to Him and forsake their sin (Isa. 59:1-2; Luke 15:11-24). He will revive and receive every soul that comes to Him (Matt. 11:28-30).
7 The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. 8 They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity. 9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds. 10 For they shall eat, but not have enough; They shall commit harlotry, but not increase; Because they have ceased obeying the Lord. (Hosea 4:7–10, NKJV)
The northern kingdom of Israel was in the throes of spiritual adultery. The nation was unfaithful to Jehovah with the idols of the land. Immorality and selfish oppression of others was the order of the day. Sin increased daily, even as did the scarcity of their daily provisions. Famine, drought, plagues, pestilence, and warfare had not turned Israel back to God (Amos 4:6-11). Their hearts were set on sin. The priests taught the people what they wanted to hear, not what they needed to hear (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3-4). So, God was ready to punish them for their sinful conduct (Amos 4:12). We must turn our hearts to God fully and be faithful to Him alone. Then He will bless us. Otherwise, judgment is certain.
5 Your calf is rejected, O Samaria! My anger is aroused against them— How long until they attain to innocence? 6 For from Israel is even this: A workman made it, and it is not God; But the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces. 7 They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, aliens would swallow it up. (Hosea 8:5–7, NKJV)
From the “excellent sacrifice” Abel offered God “by faith,” to the worship contained in the new covenant of Christ, God has always demanded reverent homage that obeys His revealed instructions concerning approved worship (Hebrews 11:4; John 4:23-24; Acts 20:7). It was a great sin when Jeroboam distorted Jehovah worship by building two golden calves for Samaria as an alternative to worshiping at the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:25-33). Even as Hosea prophesied, God was preparing to destroy the calf and the people who had flocked to it to worship. Israel sowed the wind of nothingness by honoring the graven image, and was about to reap the whirlwind of divine judgment. Whether an individual or a nation, beware when sin becomes the pattern and purpose of existence. The whirlwind of God’s destruction is not far behind. Only by repenting of sin and turning to God through His Son Jesus Christ will reaping the whirlwind be avoided (Acts 4:12; 26:20; Romans 2:1-6).