Here is an example of how serious God is that we obey Him, that we worship Him as He demands:
For I will be like a lion… I will tear to pieces and go away, I will carry away, and there will be none to deliver. I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (5:14-15)
Did you catch how many times God said He would go away? I don’t know about you, but that thought really, really scares me.
Later, in chapter 6, God tells Hosea He delights in loyalty more than people going through the motions of offering sacrifices. He honors people who seek Him, rather than mere burnt offerings.
In other words, calling ourselves Christians, going to church, tithing, even teaching Sunday School, are meaningless if we aren’t seeking God with our whole hearts. I think Scripture clearly teaches God hates lip service. Didn’t Jesus call the pharisees, those men who prided themselves on knowing Scripture and following the Law, hypocrites?
So what should our response be to God, who isn’t fooled by our outward appearance, and who will leave us to our own devises and the consequences that come because of our disobedience?
Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him. So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth. (6:1-3)
I love the line: let us PRESS ON to know the Lord. To me that indicates a purposeful, determined action on my part to really know God by reading His Word, by spending time in prayer, by talking to others about Him, by including Him in every minute of my day. It’s not a one time prayer of “Father, forgive me.” It’s a minute by minute choice.
Don’t think God isn’t serious about going away. He’ll try to get our attention, He’ll forgive us when we ask, He’ll walk with us when we seek Him. But He won’t force Himself on us. If we want Him out of our lives and our country, He’ll go.
Holy God, I bow before you a sinner saved by grace. I confess that there are times when I don’t follow You with my whole heart. Forgive me when I get busy, when I get caught up in things of this world, and neglect my relationship with You. I want to worship You as You demand. I want to serve You as You deserve. Don’t go, Father. I need You. We need You.