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I. These words declare that the motive of every Divine judgment, within the limits of this life, is mercy: the end of every affliction, however crushing, is the restoration of a sinner to the peace and the love of God. Within the limits of this life, I say. Thus far our vision stretches. We see but dimly what may lie beyond. Here at any rate the one constant, patient aim of God, by every means of influence which He wields, is to bring men unto Himself.
II. It is important for us to remember what some schools of Christian thought have strangely forgotten that God's righteousness is not a righteousness which would be satisfied equally by the conversion or by the punishment of a sinner. God's righteousness, God's justice, God's holiness, yearn for the restoration of the sinner to righteousness, quite as much as His holiness and His mercy and His love.
III. There is absolutely nothing on earth irreparable while we can repent and turn unto the Lord, "for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up." There is absolutely nothing in the experience of the sinner, the sufferer, which God cannot transmute into joy. Turn to Him, and as in a healthy frame when wounded, the repairing power begins its work at once. No cloud can long remain on the life which He wills to vindicate. No calamity can long oppress the spirit which He wills to draw to the shield of His strength, and to rest on the bosom of His love.
J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, p. 269.
References: Hosea 6:1 , Hosea 6:2 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vii., No. 400; vol. xxiv., No. 1396. Hosea 6:1-10 . F. Hastings, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxix., p. 261.Hosea 6:2 . Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 132.
Hosea 5:13 ; Hosea 6:2
So Ephraim and Judah went to the wrong person, and did not gain much by their application. The same fatal error is being perpetrated by multitudes amongst us still. The error is as ancient as Cain, and as modern as today.
I. It is pretty plain that Israel could not choose to be independent. They had not the forces at their control to enable them to defy all comers. Either the nation must lean on its God, or else it must lean on some arm of flesh, and king Jareb seemed as eligible a helper as anyone else. And neither can we be independent. Our nature is so constituted, and our conditions of existence are so ordered, that we must needs look beyond ourselves for solace and support amidst the strange and trying vicissitudes of life.
II. It would have been no true kindness on God's part if He had granted the Israelites prosperity when they were apostate from Him. This must have led them to feel the more satisfied with their apostasy, and the less disposed to repent. And it is no less His love to us that makes Him deal with us in a similar manner. He has to thwart us just that He may show us how little king Jareb can do for us.
III. When we draw near to God, we find a good Physician binding up our wounds. Listen to these wondrous words, and see foreshadowed in them all the glories of the Resurrection. "After two days will He revive us... and we shall live in His sight." The life hitherto cut off from us can once again flow into us; after two days in the sepulchre two days of self-despair and sitting in darkness and the shadow of death He revives us, and we begin to live in His sight.
W. Hay Aitken, Mission Pulpit, No. 77.
It is Christ whom our faith must grasp under these two figures, the Day-dawn and the Rain.
I. The day-dawn and the rain represent some resemblances between the coming of Christ in His Gospel and in His Spirt. (1) They have the same manifest origin. The day-dawn comes from Heaven, and so also does the rain. They are not of man's ordering and making, but of God's. It is not less so with the Gospel and Spirit of Christ. The same God who makes morning to the world by the sun, gives the dawn of a new creation to the spirits of men through the Saviour. (2) They have the same mode of operation on the part of God. That mode of operation is soft and silent. The greatest powers of nature work most calmly and noiselessly. And like to these in their operations are the Gospel and Spirit of Christ. The kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation. (3) They have the same form of approach to us in perfect freeness and fulness. The morning light comes unfettered by any condition, and so also descends the rain. And in this they are fit and blessed emblems of the way in which Christ approaches us, both with His Gospel and His Spirit. (4) They have the same object and end. It is the transformation of death into life, and the raising of that which lives into higher and fairer form. Here, too, they are emblems of the Gospel and Spirit of Christ. These, in like manner, have the same aim life and revival. The Gospel of Christ is the word of life. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of life.
II. Notice some of the points of distinction between them. (1) Christ's approach to men has a general and yet a special aspect. The sun comes every morning with a broad, unbroken look, shining for all and singling out none. But the rain as it descends breaks into drops, and hangs with its globules on every blade. There is this twofold aspect in the coming of Christ. (2) Christ's coming is constant and yet variable. The sunrise is of all things the most sure and settled. But for the rain man knows no fixed rule. Christ visits men in His Gospel, steady and unchanging as the sun. But with the Holy Spirit it is otherwise: His coming may vary in time and place, like the wind which bloweth where it listeth, or the rain, whose arrival depends on causes we have not fathomed. (3) Christ's coming may be with gladness, and yet also with trouble. And as God's sun and cloud in the world around us are not at variance, neither are the gladness that lies in the light of His Gospel and the trouble that may come from the convictions of His Spirit. (4) Christ's coming in His Gospel and Spirit may be separate for a while, but they tend to a final and perfect union. The Gospel, without the Spirit, would be the sun shining on a waterless waste. The Spirit, without the Gospel, would be the rain falling in a starless night.
J. Ker, Sermons, p. 82.
The theme thus brought before us is the frequently transitory character of religious impressions. We may classify the causes which tend to make religious impressions evanescent under three heads.
I. There are, first, those which are speculative in their nature. It has often occurred that when the conscience is awakened the soul takes refuge in the perplexing difficulties which revelation leaves unsolved, connected with such subjects as these namely, the harmony of prayer with the foreknowledge of God; the consistency of special grace with the free offer of salvation to every hearer of the Gospel; the origin of evil, the doctrine of the atonement, the doctrine of election, and the like: and because no satisfactory solution of these is found, the individual is content to be as he was before, and his half-formed resolutions vanish. Observe (1) that the existence of difficulties is inseparable from any revelation which is short of infinite. (2) These difficulties in revelation are of the very same sort, so far at least as they touch our conduct, as those which we meet in God's daily providence. (3) Difficulties in regard to things of which we are in doubt ought not to prevent us from performing duties that are perfectly plain.
II. A second class of causes which operate in the way of removing spiritual impressions may be styled the practical. There is (1) fear of opposition, (2) the influence of evil associates, (3) the fettering influence of some pernicious habit.
III. A third cause is connected with the conduct of professing Christians. The seriousness produced by some searching discourse is often wiped out by the thoughtless, flippant remarks of a so-called Christian on the way home from church. (1) To those who have felt their religious convictions shaken by this cause, I say: Religion is a personal thing; every man must give account of himself to God, and these inconsistent professors of religion shall be answerable for their hypocrisy at the bar of His judgment. But their inconsistency will not excuse you. (2) My second remark is to those who profess and call themselves Christians. See what stumbling-blocks your inconsistencies put in the way of sinners who may be seriously thinking of returning to God, and be warned to be watchful over your lives.
W. M. Taylor, Limitations of Life, p. 280.
References: Hosea 6:4 . H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 138; Homiletic Quarterly, vol iv., p. 140.
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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Hosea 6". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany