“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.” Hosea 6:1-3 ESV
Something that we fear. Something that we’re willing to go out of our way to avoid. Something that, despite our many efforts, seems to find us all. Brokenness.
I’m reminded of several times of brokenness in my own life, times when heartache, confusion, and despair seemed to be the order of the day. I remember wondering if God was really there and questioning whether or not I would ever see the other side of my pain, and yet it was in my brokenness that I was brought to my knees in pursuit of my God. This is where we meet today on the pages of God’s Word. Join me in this study, and let us commit our brokenness to the God who heals.
We see in verse one a command to return to the LORD. Although not always the case, I find a connection between my seasons of sin and wandering from God’s ways with times of brokenness. Sins bears consequence, and often times those consequences bring suffering, pain, and brokenness into our lives. The sin of pride often leads to times of humbling. The sin of unbelief often leads to times of doubt and despair. Here in this passage, the prophet Hosea is writing a response to God’s rebuke over Israel because of their unfaithfulness to Him. Just one verse before, God says He is going to remove Himself from the people of Israel until they acknowledge their sin and seek His face once again. I can’t think of a greater consequence than the thought of God’s presence being removed from my life! So, Hosea shouts the only natural response that we should have when we find ourselves broken, torn, and wounded because of our sin: “Come, let us return to the LORD.” Is there an area of your life that needs a returning to the LORD? Maybe you’ve wandered from Him in your pursuit of all that the world has to offer. Perhaps it’s a specific sin struggle that needs to be confessed and repented of in order for you to fully embrace Him. Be comforted by the promise that when we return to Him, what He has torn He will heal; what He has struck down, He will bind up.
When I read verse two, I think “wow, just two days?!” Wouldn’t that be nice to have full healing from our brokenness in just 2-3 days? Although God is more than able to accomplish that, this verse is not referring to a literal two days. What we can take from this verse is a reference to the quickness of healing and restoration that is available to us when we return to the LORD, committing to Him our brokenness so that He may do with it as He sees fit. You see, God appoints seasons of adversity to His children for His intended purposes. When we’re broken, we’re more desperate. When we’re broken, we’re more acutely aware of our need for a Savior. When we’re broken, we’re more prone to look up. It is often in that recognition of our need that we meet our Savior on our knees. What a beautiful picture brokenness can be! I love King David’s heartfelt cry of brokenness found in Psalm 51. He laments over his sin and confesses with a broken heart his need for God to restore him. Then we read in Psalm 51:17 this remarkable promise:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
It’s incredible to see such a contrast between how we view brokenness and how God does. We view it as weakness. He sees it as beautiful and an acceptable sacrifice of praise.
We are met with one final exhortation in verse three: to know the LORD. And not just to know Him, but to press on to know Him. Seeking God is not always easy. We know this. The demands of our daily lives repeatedly “prevent” us from pursuing God…because we let them. We often have to push past the distractions and the noise of our cluttered lives to truly meet with Him. That’s where the urgency comes from in this verse to press on, to push past every obstacle that would seek to hinder us from knowing our God. Knowing God might seem to be a daunting task to some, overwhelming to many. “How can I really know God? I mean, He’s God! He’s so far above and beyond me.” Yes, this is true, and there are certain aspects of God’s nature that will remain hidden from our understanding until we see Him face to face. However, God would not ask us to know Him if He was unknowable. He has revealed countless aspects of His character to us in His Word. Read it. Study it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. You will come to know Him in His Word because it is His primary means of revealing Himself to us. As certain as we can be of the spring rains coming to water the earth, we can also know that He will come to us, meet with us, and heal us when we press on to know Him.
Do you find yourself in a time of brokenness right now? Are you working your way through a season of pain? Look up. God is there reaching down to you, extending His healing hand. Reach out and grab it. Commit your brokenness to the LORD, the God who heals, wait on Him, and come to know Him on your knees.
“The best things of life come out of wounding. Wheat is crushed before it becomes bread. Incense must be cast upon the fire before its odors are set free. The ground must be broken with the sharp plough before it is ready to receive the seed. It is the broken heart that pleases God. The sweetest joys in life are the fruits of sorrow. Human nature seems to need suffering to fit it for being a blessing to the world.” F.W. Robertson Out of Wounding