He has torn us to pieces and injured us. Let’s return to him.


He has torn us to pieces and injured us. Let’s return to him.  

Say what?  
He has torn us to pieces and injured us –  
and we should return to him?  

If this was about a father doing this kind of thing to his family – the guy would be in prison.

And yes – this is about a father.
And that father is doing things to his kids.

However – there’s something missing here that’s really important.

Here’s part of what’s missing –

Hos 6:4 “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.
Hos 6:5 Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,
I killed you with the words of my mouth;
my judgments flashed like lightning upon you.

OK – you see now that this is about God.  While that knowledge alone will set some of you off – please, stick around.  There is more to this.

First – we see that cut you to pieces wasn’t literally cut, like with a knife.  It was about words – warnings – God warning His people (his kids, so to speak) to wake up and start listening to Him.

Second, we see that the injury was “killing” with words again.  This time, an acknowledgement that the words from the prophets were in fact God’s own words.

Before that though, we also get a feel for how God’s kids treat Him.  They love Him – a little bit, for a little while.  Then, like the mist in the early morning – that love is gone.  And they’re off doing the very things God told them not to do.

Oh.

Not what you expected, was it?

This is just part of what follows about the “kids” – God’s people –

Hos 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hos 6:7 Like Adam, they have broken the covenant—
they were unfaithful to me there.
Hos 6:8 Gilead is a city of wicked men,
stained with footprints of blood.
Hos 6:9 As marauders lie in ambush for a man,
so do bands of priests;
they murder on the road to Shechem,
committing shameful crimes.
Hos 6:10 I have seen a horrible thing
in the house of Israel.
There Ephraim is given to prostitution
and Israel is defiled.

We now see that short-lived love is an incredibly understated way to put things.  These “kids” were killing people.  Even the priests of God had blood on their hands and feet.  It’s awful.

Earlier, I said the father would have been in prison for what we thought he did to his kids.  Turns out – what the father did was a paint a picture.  It was a picture painted with words, not actions with real knives and actual physical injuries.

But now – the kids – they’ll be in jail with the keys thrown away.  Hopefully.

 

After some back and forth – with the kids still not getting the lesson – we read this –

Hos 14:4 “I will heal their waywardness
and love them freely,
for my anger has turned away from them.
Hos 14:5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like a lily.
Like a cedar of Lebanon
he will send down his roots;
Hos 14:6 his young shoots will grow.
His splendor will be like an olive tree,
his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
Hos 14:7 Men will dwell again in his shade.
He will flourish like the grain.
He will blossom like a vine,
and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon.
Hos 14:8 O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?
I will answer him and care for him.
I am like a green pine tree;
your fruitfulness comes from me.”

Another surprise, no doubt.  Who would have expected this after what we read earlier?  
There are certainly lot’s of people who would be quite shocked.  That is, they’d be shocked if they’d actually read this far.  I think too many read the first part of this – decide that God is “bad” – decide that the problem is God, not the people.  And so they never realize this part even exists – never find out that God’s desire to care for His people is much stronger than their desire to follow Him.

 

After we read more back and forth in this book of the Bible, it finishes with God inviting His people yet again t return to Him.

The book closed with this passage –

Hos 14:9 Who is wise? He will realize these things.
Who is discerning? He will understand them.
The ways of the LORD are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.

And then we begin to see why the title is the way to go – 

He has torn us to pieces and injured us.  Let’s return to him.

And we begin to understand this passage, earlier in the book, from which the title is taken.

Hos 6:1 “Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
Hos 6:2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
Hos 6:3 Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”

 

What is missing from the last passage is the implicit (unstated, but should have been understood) concept that the people were wrong to do the things they did.  To bring that into current times – the people (us) are wrong to have been doing the things we are doing.  

The acknowledgment that what we’re doing is wrong is important.  If we continue to insist that we’ve done nothing wrong – then we haven’t really returned to God, have we?

Also included in that passage is an admission that we more than deserved what we got when God “tore us to pieces”.  All those warnings went unheeded – ignored – thrown back in God’s face.

We can do all that, and God still wants to heal us, restore us, and live with us.

There is, of course, one restriction on that.  We have to still be alive.  We may be tempted to wait until the last minute – live life the way we want – as long as possible.  The problem is, we don’t know when the last minute will come.  If it comes before we expect – before we return to God – then it’s also too late for God to restore us.

And that’s why there are so many warnings to return to Him.  It’s not that God is mean, nagging, trying to stifle our fun.  It’s that He knows what we refuse to acknowledge – that too many of us will wait too long to return to Him.

And that’s why we need to acknowledge that the title is very real – very important – and something we must do –

He has torn us to pieces and injured us. Let’s return to him.

As soon as we realize God is the good guy – not the bad guy – we need to return to Him.  Let Him heal us and restore us.  And then we find out what life can really be like – and we can have eternal life with Him.

Conclusion

It’s really too bad Hosea doesn’t get talked about more often.  It’s a difficult topic – partly because of the scenario in the book – but also because it so accurately describes us.  But the fact that it does teach us so much about ourselves is exactly why it needs to be discussed.  If we refuse to look in the mirror – how else can we recognize ourselves, other than by studying someone else who is essentially us?  Maybe then, the light will go on in our heads – and we’ll also say 

He has torn us to pieces and injured us. Let’s return to him.

 


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