This chapter starts out with what seems like a legitimate repentance from Israel: “Come, let us return to the Lord…” Israel believed that like the rains, God’s favor would return to the land and restore her: “he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (v3) But when we get to verse 4, we see how shallow this repentance is: “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.” What great figurative language to describe what is temporary.
God does not fall for their fake apology: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings.” (v6) Mercy is the Hebrew word “hesed” which can refer to the right conduct toward one’s neighbor or loyalty to the Lord or both – which is what God requires of His servants. The same Hebrew word is used in verse 4 for ‘love.’
Sacrifice apart from faithfulness to the Lord’s will is unacceptable.God will call you to make sacrifices for Him in your life. He wants you accept them faithfully. Will you answer His call?
“Like Adam, they have broken the covenant – they were unfaithful to me there.” (v7) Just as Adam broke God’s covenant in paradise of Eden, the Israelites have broken the covenant made with The Lord.
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession” Exodus 19:5
“but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you” Jeremiah 7:23
“Whenever I restore the fortunes of my people.” (v11) Parallels “healing” in verse 1. This refers to the restoration of the wounded body.
Oh, I believe, I believe I see the cloud and oh, the rain is coming And oh, the rain is coming Oh, revival, revival rain Oh, I see the clouds It’s coming, coming, it’s coming I believe, I believe Jesus, you’re mighty to save And I believe, you pour out your spirit upon all, please God I believe, I believe, I believe You’re pouring down Oh, it’s gonna rain, it’s gonna rain, I believe ~Jesus Culture “My Soul Longs for You”