“Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight…His going out 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).
This passage is tough to hear while being hopeful. I say that God is very active in our lives and we must stay close to Him and His ways: obey. He will tear us. This is a little or a lot scary. God disciplines. He does not punish, however. That is the good news; He has already taken the punishment on the cross for us that we might live if “we return to the Lord.” Yes, God corrects and shows us the path of life. David’s Psalm 23 tells us that, “He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name's sake” (Psalm 23:3). If He leads we must follow if we desire healing not tearing.
This passage is powerful in telling us that God is a “Healer.” He binds up and heals what He has broken or stricken. He wants a broken and contrite heart. He want us to “humble ourselves under His mighty hand and in due time He will lift us up” (James 4:10). He wants us to return to Him so that He can revive us. Do you have a vision of this revival? Is it a new life, refreshed, remade and reshaped by the Lord? That is what the “Potter” wants to do in our lives.
He wants to rain on us. Rain is life and health. Rain causes growth. The California draught reminds us of dead crops and dust blowing in the wind. I spoke recently of “dry bones in the valley.” Ezekiel spoke of lives bereft of God’s presence and purpose. He wants to restore our spiritual vitality. In verse 3 He says, “Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.” He is making a call to repentance to the Israelites and to us today. Confess and repent of our going our own way without Him. This is a pride and selfishness that takes us away from His blessings. For me it took a major life change. I was a worldly hospital CEO, successful in carnal ways. Oh sure, my efforts helped keep some hospitals from closing. However, I also opened myself to the ways of darkness.
Only after realizing my own poverty of spirit and confessing it did I receive God’s awesome forgiveness and healing. My own behavior led to my needing to change my career direction. It was very dramatic, but not without consequence. I spent several years in the desert, going from job to job. But I had begun to seek God and He began to work dramatically in my life. He led me to turnaround and repent and go another way. He began to lead me from the “front office to bedside” of hospitals. This new journey began with a call to seminary. This six years pilgrimage in seeking after the Lord led me to the chaplaincy.
He was as Hosea, raining on me and lifting me up. It was more than on the third day, except to say that specific plans were being led by the Lord now, not me. He was teaching me that to do life in my own plans leads to nothing unless it is sourced in the Lord and His Word. My calling was appearing out of this process. What I could not do in my own strength was now being done in His. “His power was being made perfect in my weakness” (1 Corinthians 12:9). I believe that I am now walking in a new way, His way. He is directing my path as Proverbs 3:5-6 admonishes us. Let God direct your paths. Listen to His voice and follow.