Shallow repentance ∙
I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. – Hosea 6:6
1 Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces; now, he will heal us. He has injured us; now, he will bandage our wounds.
2 In just a short time, he will restore us so that we may live in his presence.
3 Oh that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.
4 O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you? asks the LORD. For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight.
5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces – to slaughter you with my words, with judgments as inescapable as light.
6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
The Chrysler Corporation was founded as the Maxwell Motor Company Inc. in 1913. In 1925, Walter P. Chrysler took over control of the company. The Dodge Brothers, famous for their engines, joined him in 1928. Soon Chrysler was a major player in the U.S. automotive industry. All that changed in 1973 with the oil crisis. After decades of expansion, the company’s success came to a screeching halt. The skyrocketing cost of gasoline and tough new government regulations for emissions hit them especially hard.
Chrysler was known for its “muscle cars” in the 1960s. They built cars with powerful, gas-guzzling engines. Now virtually nobody wanted them.
By the end of the 1970s, Chrysler was in dire financial straits. Lee Iacocca, became Chrysler’s president and chairman of the board in 1978. Iacocca appealed for and received a federal loan. With the economy in shambles, Iacocca gambled that the federal government could not allow the third-largest carmaker in the United States to declare bankruptcy.
Iacocca’s gamble paid off. Chrysler was brought back from economic collapse and bankruptcy. With the funds, new life was breathed into the dying company.
Treasury Secretary Miller stated that the government “recognizes that there is a public interest in sustaining [its] jobs and maintaining a strong and competitive national automotive industry.”
The terms of the $1.5 billion in loans required Chrysler to raise another $2 billion on its own. Iacocca pulled it off by persuading union leaders to accept some layoffs and wage cuts, implementing extreme cost-cutting measures, and streamlining operations.
Lee Iacocca’s high-profile personal leadership, combined with a focus on more fuel-efficient vehicles, steered Chrysler to one of the most legendary corporate comebacks in modern times. He paid off the government loans ahead of schedule. In 1984, the company posted record profits of the neighborhood of $2.4 billion.
Chances are pretty good that no matter what happens to us, we will never be desperate enough to borrow $1.5 billion. But Chrysler’s difficulties did not occur overnight. Instead, it made a series of choices, often harmful, over time that resulted in dire circumstances.
The same is true in our own lives.
In the days of Hosea, circa 755-715 BC. The children of Israel had forgotten the Father. For all practical purposes, for them, “God was dead” (Psalm 10:4).
Psalms 10:4 The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.
REFLECT & PRAY
The Father desires that we enjoy the personal experience of knowing and loyally loving Him.
Father I so easy to get caught up with things and forget You. Encourage me to seek You and walk with You daily.
When casually reading Hosea 6:1-3, one’s initial take might be that the people had gotten their act together and had repented. But their “repentance” was very shallow and fleeting. They were mouthing pious religious sentiments, but the reality behind them was totally absent. The Father saw right through their charade.
1 Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
2 He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.
3 So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.
The Father knew they were just going through the motions. It was no more than a superficial, duplicitous subterfuge.
Isaiah 29:13 The Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”
They were only pretending. It was like a childish game of “make-believe.” They appeared to be seeking the Lord and returning to him (Hosea 7:10). They put up a good front, but in fact they are speaking lies (Hosea 7:13). They were looking everywhere except to the Father (Hosea 7:16).
“Their concern was for healing and not for cleansing. They saw their nation in difficulty and wanted God to ‘make things right,’ but they did not come with broken hearts and surrendered wills. They wanted happiness, not holiness, a change of circumstances . . . [They] treated God like a celestial lifeguard who should rescue them from danger but not deliver them from their sins. They shed tears of remorse over their suffering, but not tears of repentance over their sin” (Wiersbe).
For them, the Father was like the legendary genie in a lamp, granting wishes when they rubbed it. They mistakenly believed that they were in a give-and-take relationship with Him. They gave what they misguidedly thought the Father wanted. In return, they expected to receive what they wanted.
Their “god” could be bought, manipulated by words, religious formulas, and superficial acts of religious devotion. And in their minds, their religious practices had a “money-back guarantee.” To paraphrase Hosea 6:3, “If we seek Him, His blessing is sure to come just as the dawn comes each morning and the rains come each spring and winter” (Wiersbe).
The Father was nothing more to them than a cosmic vending machine. Put in the right amount of money, press the right combination of keys, and out comes the desired result. They were indeed religious, but a relationship with the Father was abysmally and tragically absent.
The Father set the record straight for all time. Man-made religion with outward acts of devotion and cut-and-dried religious formulas recited a by rote were totally misguided.
Hosea 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. (c.f. Matthew 23:23-37)
Repeatedly in the Scriptures, the Lord tells us that while He has no desire for half-hearted religious ritual, He greatly desires hearts on fire for Him – those who will joyfully love God and love others (Stanley).
© Dr. H 2022