by D’Ann Davis
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers; as the spring rains that water the earth.’ What shall I do with you O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:1-6
Believers know that confession is a part of the Christian life. First John 1:9 reminds us of this virtue in saying, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” James 5:16 exhorts, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” We see instruction to and benefits from confessing our sins. However, when this confession is insincere, we are disobediently spurning the Lord’s reproofs. This was the sin of the Israelites in Hosea six.
The first three verses of this passage are beautifully written. The Israelites were nothing if not poetic. Their praising of God’s faithfulness and call to return to Him feels moving in its fervor and artistry. However, God knew the hearts of the Israelites. He knew their confession was empty and would not last. They had great things to say, but their heart had not resolved to truly come to Him in repentance. Their sorrow was not a 2 Corinthians 7:10 godly sorrow that leads to life and repentance, but a worldly sorrow that leads to death. God was not fooled by their shallow eloquence. And He is not fooled by ours.
God desires a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart more than He desires sacrifice, per Psalm 51:17. He sees past our façade and knows our hearts. He knows when we are grieved over consequences alone and unmoved by grieving the Holy Spirit. We may convince others of our feigned sincerity, but we do not fool Him. He is the One to whom we answer. We might think we are getting away with something by our empty words, but we get nothing past our all-knowing Father.
He says in 6:6, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Thank God we have a God who cares more about our hearts’ postures than He does the outward appearance! He is invested in our lives. He cares about our true confession, repentance, healing, freedom, and life. He wants more for us than our flimsy confessions that keep us in bondage. He wants authentic agreement with Him about our sin that we might be saved from it through Him. Thankfully we have a Savior who died not only for our sins, but also for our sinfully motivated and poor acknowledgements of that sin. Thank God He made a way for us even in this.
So let us cast aside the sin that so easily entangles us and repent of the impotent, disingenuous confessions we make. Let us confess in humility and truth, knowing that the truth sets us free.
“Dear God, thank You for loving us even in our insincere confessions. Help us to come to You in humility and truth and approach the throne of grace with confidence, knowing we have a great High Priest who can sympathize with our weakness. Please continually draw us to You and sanctify our motives and confessions that we might be pleasing to You and restored to You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”