“Come and let us return to the Lord…”

Hosea 6:1
On Friday, we looked at a heavenly love that rescues, redeems, and makes the ugliest situations beautiful.  
Since Friday, the word that has been burning on my heart is Return.  As if God is calling me back from my wandering, longing for the heart that He created and sent His Son to die for, to fully return; and ready and willing to awaken my heart once again.  
A place in Hosea I often use as a source of strength and restoration is Hosea 6:1-3:

“Come and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but 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 in His sight.  Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord, His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us lie the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.”
Here, we see God’s heart for the restoration of His people and we are challenged to press on to know Him more.  I love the assurance this provides us: as we pursue to deepen our knowledge of the Lord, He will appear.
The problem here?  Within Israel’s call to repentance, their words imply that they blame God for their suffering and He is obligated to restore them.  Ultimately, they are the ones who have forsaken their first love and betrayed their covenant God.  Why should God owe them anything?

Oh Israel…even your repentance is marked by a selfish pride.  I don’t know about you, but unfortunately I am able to relate to this more often than I care to admit.  I so easily find myself sinning even in the midst of repentance, only to start over by confessing my sinful heart during my confession.  Wow, I’m sinful…it truly is only by grace that I have been saved.  

Following this, God goes on in chapter 6 to compare their faithfulness to a “morning cloud, and like the early dew it goes away.” (verse 4)  They are fleeting in their love and dedication to God.

Once again, I can relate.

What is God longing for?  He continues,  “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (verse 6) 
I’m no Bible guru, but I was SO excited when I stumbled upon the original Hebrew word for “mercy” in this instance.  The word is hesed, which refers to a loyal, covenant love; a mutual relationship between God and man.   

God wants us!

As I continued to reflect on Israel’s wanderings, their lack of repentance, my own similarities, and God’s ultimate desire, I felt as though God was saying:

“Return to me from your wandering and your fleeting affection that is here for a moment only to vanish.  Sweet daughter, all I want is you.  More than anything you could do, I want you to experience my faithful love and experience the full extent of what a love relationship with me looks like.  I want your heart.  I want you to pursue me and know more of who I am.  I want you to love me.  I have so much to show you!”  

And once again, my wandering heart begins to return, only to be met by open arms.