Hosea 6:3 Reminds Us That God Is Always Faithful

Contributing Writer
Hosea 6:3 Reminds Us That God Is Always Faithful

Hosea is one of the minor prophets in the Old Testament. His book is not minor because it is lesser – it’s minor because it’s a shorter book than the major prophets’ books (Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel). Hosea’s name means “salvation,” and it is appropriate for this book because of God’s promises to Israel. Hosea most likely was one of two writing prophets from the northern tribe of Israel (Jonah was the other). Hosea was a contemporary of Amos, Micah, and Isaiah, so he prophesied before Israel’s exile to Assyria. At the time Hosea prophesied, Israel experienced financial affluence and civil peace. But God’s people were bound in ethical depravity and spiritual impoverishment.

In his book, Hosea focused on Israel’s rebellion against the Lord and their violation of the covenant with the Lord. Hosea pronounced God’s imminent judgment against Israel.

Hosea 6:3 reads,

“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 Is the Context of This Verse?

The first three chapters of Hosea fluctuate between God’s judgment and salvation of Israel. The Lord used His command to Hosea that he marry an adulterous woman to symbolize Israel’s relationship with Him (Hosea 1-3). As she was unfaithful, so too was Israel in their covenant relationship with God. Within each section, though, is the promise of the judgment being reversed.

The set-up for chapter six begins in earnest in chapter five, when Hosea brings a resounding accusation against the priests and the king in addition to the whole nation. The leaders were culpable for leading the people in false worship, and the Lord announced He would use invading forces to bring Israel back to Him (Hosea 5:15). But would He accept them?

What Does This Verse Mean?

Hosea 6:1-3 begins with a future voice coming from a penitent people (Israel and Judah) who earnestly seek the Lord. They addressed the Lord God. These first three verses display a cycle often seen in Hebrew literature. Verses 1a and 3a encompass encouragement and verses 1b-2 and 3b represent an inspiring assurance.

As a striking contrast to Israel’s previous foolishness and rebellion (Hosea 5:13), Israel would finally turn to the Lord as her foundation of life. The invaders of Assyria could not do what only the Lord can do, although the Lord God came as though a lion (Hosea 5:14) to “tear and carry off.” Only God could restore Israel once they turned back to Him, and this verse refers to how they would “press on” with their fresh and fervent devotion to Him. “Press on” in this instance exemplifies a pursuit which proves their penitent nature and intent.

Israel knew God would respond positively to their faithfulness because He promised He would. Hosea likens His sure restoration of them with the refreshing nature of the dawn, showers, and spring rain. God had proven Himself faithful before, and knowing His character through His wondrous works (Job 37:14; Psalm 26:7) and fulfilled promises (Joshua 21:45) allowed them the freedom to expect He would continue in faithfulness.

What Else Happens in Hosea 6?

A true biblical prophet always presents what the Lord has commanded him to convey. Beginning in verse 4, Hosea presents God’s answer to Israel. He chastises them for their fading love (v.4) by asking them (rhetorically) what He is to do with them. He is calling them out for their wickedness against Him and makes His uncontestable accusations regarding their unfaithful hearts.

God reminds them of what they’ve done (could they not know?), and He tells them what He requires of them in verse 6, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” The Lord God makes a case no one can refute. He compares the priests to murderers; such did they kill the covenant with their rebellion and unfaithfulness (scholars are divided about this passage being literal or figurative). There was no getting past their guilt. In verse 10, God said He saw a “horrible” thing encapsulated within whoredom and defilement. In Hosea 6:11a, God tells them their day of judgment is coming and they should not be haughty about their neighbors’ destruction.

The last verse of chapter six, however, brings hope for the nation. God promised He would restore the “fortunes of My people.” Calling them “My people” brings their covenant relationship back to the fore. They’d done egregious wrongs, but God is forever faithful and stands by His promises.

What Does It Mean for Us to "Acknowledge the Lord?”

The Lord is a faithful, covenant-keeping God. He is true, just, gracious, merciful, kind, loving, and holy (to mention several of His amazing attributes). To acknowledge Him is an avowal of agreement regarding Who He is and what He has done, is doing, and will do. This is all according to His perfect nature and will.

When we acknowledge God, we agree with His commands and seek to obey His will for His purposes. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a strong go-to passage when we desire clarification about how to acknowledge God. The passage says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Who we are in Christ is based upon how faithful we are to follow the Lord and strive to live a life of submission to Him. We walk according to His Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1,4; Galatians 5:25), therefore it’s the Lord who guides our steps in this life.

Can We Be Confident the Lord Will Appear as Surely as the Sun?

“And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars” (Genesis 1:16).

The One who created the heavens and the earth (and the sun) is as sure as what He created, for He controls every aspect of His creation (Job 37:5-13).

Throughout Scripture, God proves His faithfulness (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 11:25-27). To be succinct, God will appear because He says He will appear. God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), therefore every promise He has made will come to fruition (Psalm 121:8; Daniel 9:25; Micah 5:7).

How Does This Verse Encourage Us Today?

The world in which we Christians live is fraught with pain, grief, wars, strife, idolatry, and persecution, to name a few. When we study the Bible, we can’t help but get to know its Author. And when we know Him more, we trust Him and love Him more. Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and we lean into Him in all circumstances. As the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

All of the Bible displays God’s faithfulness. And we have no reason to fear anything because He is greater in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Satan is a defeated foe and we are kingdom dwellers, here as Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), sharing the gospel and the joy that comes from belonging to Christ.

A common comment from Christians who endure tragedy and/or distress is, “What do people do who don’t know Jesus? He is the only way I can get through this.” It’s a worthwhile reflection because without Jesus, we would be as hopeless as they. But there are times when we might waver in our hope. Here’s a prayer for when we feel a lack of confidence in God.

Father God,

Forgive me for doubting You. As I look into Your Word, I see the many ways You have been faithful. You only do wondrous things and sending our Lord Jesus to die because You love us is just one! Thank You for Him and thank You for Your Spirit who has sealed us for You. You keep us protected from the wiles of the evil one, who only seeks to kill and destroy. But he is a liar, and You have already defeated him. You are faithful and true, and my confidence soars like an eagle because I know You keep Your promises. Thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me. I trust You and I love You.

Amen.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Beerphotography

Lisa Baker 1200x1200Lisa Loraine Baker is the multiple award-winning author of Someplace to be Somebody (End Game Press – Feb. 2022). She writes fiction and nonfiction and her current works-in-progress include a children’s picture book to accompany Someplace to be Somebody and a Christmas story anthology. Also, she and her husband are writing a Christian living book. In addition to writing for the Salem Web Network, Lisa serves as a Word Weavers’ mentor and is part of a critique group. She also is a member of AWSA and BRRC. Lisa and her husband, Stephen, a pastor, live in a small Ohio village with their crazy cat, Lewis.