Click here to get started today!
Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
New American Standard Version
Bible Study Resources
Nave's Topical Bible - Afflictions and Adversities; Backsliders; Thompson Chain Reference - Awakenings and Religious Reforms; Revivals; The Topic Concordance - Jesus Christ; War/weapons; Torrey's Topical Textbook - Life, Spiritual;
Verse Hosea 6:2. After two days will he revive — Such is his power that in two or three days he can restore us. He can realize all our hopes, and give us the strongest token for good.
In the third day he will raise us up — In so short a time can he give us complete deliverance. These words are supposed to refer to the death and resurrection of our Lord; and it is thought that the apostle refers to them, 1 Corinthians 15:4: "Christ rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures;" and this is the only place in the Scriptures, i.e., of the Old Testament, where his resurrection on the third day seems to be hinted at. The original, יקמנו yekimenu, has been translated, he will raise him up. Then they who trusted in him could believe that they should be quickened together with him.
And we shall live in his sight. — His resurrection being a proof of theirs.
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/hosea-6.html. 1832.
Insincere repentance (6:1-6)
In view of God’s warning in the previous chapter (see 5:15), the people decide to make a confession of repentance. But their confession is not sincere. They offer it to God in the hope that it will satisfy him and bring from him a speedy response. If God helps them, their future blessings are guaranteed (6:1-3).
God sees that the people’s promise to return to him is nothing but words; their hearts have not changed. They have no covenant loyalty towards God, no love for him and no desire to know him. As long as they are without these qualities, all their sacrifices and offerings are useless. Religious exercises will not save a rebellious people from judgment (4-6).
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/hosea-6.html. 2005.
After two days will He revive us (or quicken us, give us life,) in the third day He will raise us up - The Resurrection of Christ, and our resurrection in Him and in His Resurrection, could not be more plainly foretold. The prophet expressly mentions “two days,” after which life should be given, and a “third day, on” which the resurrection should take place. What else can this be than the two days in which the Body of Christ lay in the tomb, and the third day, on which He rose again, as “the Resurrection and the life” John 11:25, “the first fruits of them that slept” 1 Corinthians 15:20, the source and earnest and pledge of our resurrection and of life eternal? The Apostle, in speaking of our resurrection in Christ, uses these self-same words of the prophet; “God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us - hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 2:4-6.
The Apostle, like the prophet, speaks of that which took place in Christ our Head, as having already taken place in us, His members. : “If we unhesitatingly believe in our heart,” says a father, “what we profess with our mouth, we were crucified in Christ, “we” died, “we” were buried, “we” also were raised again on that very third day. Whence the Apostle saith, “If ye rose again with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God” Colossians 3:1. “As Christ died for us, so He also rose for us. “Our old man was nailed to the wood, in the flesh of our Head, and the new man was formed in that same Head, rising glorious from the tomb.” What Christ, our Head, did, He did, not for Himself, but for His redeemed, that the benefits of His Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, might redound to all. life did it for them; they partook of what He did.
In no other way, could our participation of Christ be foretold. It was not the prophet’s object here, nor was it so direct a comfort to Israel, to speak of Christ’s Resurrection in itself. He took a nearer way to their hearts. He told them, “all we who turn to the Lord, putting our whole trust in Him, and committing ourselves wholly to Him, to be healed of our wounds and to have our griefs bound up, shall receive life from Him, shall be raised up by Him.” They could not understand “then,” how He would do this. The “after two days” and, “in the third day,” remained a mystery, to be explained by the event. But the promise itself was not the less distinct, nor the less full of hope, nor did it less fulfill all cravings for life eternal and the sight of God, because they did not understand, “how shall these things be.” Faith is unconcerned about the “how.” Faith believes what God says, because He says it, and leaves Him to fulfill it, “how” He wills and knows. The words of the promise which faith had to believe, were plain. The life of which the prophet spoke, could only be life from death, whether of the body or the soul or both. For God is said to “give life,” only in contrast with such death. Whence the Jews too have ever looked and do look, that this should be fulfilled in the Christ, though they know not that it has been fulfilled in Him. They too explain it ; “He will quicken us in the days of consolation which shall come; in the day of the quickening of the dead; he will raise us up, and we shall live before Him.”
In shadow, the prophecy was never fulfilled to Israel at all. The ten tribes were never restored; they never, as a whole, received any favor from God, after He gave them up to captivity. And unto the two tribes, (of whom, apart from the ten, no mention is made here) what a mere shadow was the restoration from Babylon, that it should be spoken of as the gift of life or of resurrection, whereby we should live before Him! The strictest explanation is the truest. The “two days” and “the third day” have nothing in history to correspond with them, except that in which they were fulfilled, when Christ, “rising on the third day from the grave, raised with Him the whole human race” .
And we shall live in His sight - Literally, “before His Face.” In the face, we see the will, and mind, the love, the pleasure or displeasure of a human being whom we love. In the holy or loving face of man, there may be read fresh depths of devotion or of love. The face is turned away in sorrowful displeasure; it is turned full upon the face it loves. Hence, it is so very expressive an image of the relation of the soul to God, and the Psalmists so often pray, “Lord lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us; make Thy Face to shine upon Thy servant; God bless us, and cause His Face to shine upon us; cast me not away from Thy presence or Face; look Thou upon me and be merciful unto me; look upon the Face of thine anointed; how long wilt Thou hide Thy Face from me? hide not Thy Face from Thy servant” (Psalms 4:6; Psalms 31:16 (from Numbers 6:25); Psalms 67:1; Psalms 80:7; Psalms 119:135; Psalms 51:11; Psalms 119:132; Psalms 84:9; Psalms 13:1; Psalms 69:17, etc.); or they profess, “Thy Face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalms 27:8; see Psalms 24:6; Psalms 105:4); or they declare that the bliss of eternity is in “the Face of God” Psalms 11:7; Psalms 16:11; Psalms 17:15.
God had just said, that He would withdraw His presence, until they should “seek” His “Face;” now He says, they should “live before His Face.” To Abraham He had said, “Walk before Me” Genesis 17:1, literally, “before My Face, and be thou perfect.” Bliss from the Creator, and duty from the creature, answer to one another. We “live in His sight,” in the way of duty, when we refer ourselves and our whole being, our courses of action, our thoughts, our love, to Him, remembering that we are ever in His presence, and ever seeking to please Him. “We live in His sight,” in the bliss of His presence, when we enjoy the sense of His favor, and know that His Eye rests on us in love, that He cares for us, guides us, guards us; and have some sweetness in contemplating Him. Much more fully shall we live in His sight, when, in Him, we shall be partakers of His Eternal Life and Bliss, and shall behold Him “face to face,” and “see Him as He is,” and the sight of Him shall be our bliss, “and in His light we shall see light” Psalms 36:9.
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/hosea-6.html. 1870.
This place the Hebrew writers pervert, for they think that they are yet to be redeemed by the coming of the Messiah; and they imagine that this will be the third day: for God once drew them out of Egypt, this was their first life; then, secondly, he restored them to life when he brought them back from the Babylonish captivity; and when God shall, by the hand of the Messiah, gather them from their dispersion, this, they say, will be the third resurrection. But these are frivolous notions. Not withstanding, this place is usually referred to Christ, as declaring, that God would, after two days, and on the third, raise up his Church; for Christ, we know, did not rise privately for himself, but for his members, inasmuch as he is the first-fruits of them who shall rise. This sense does not seem then unsuitable, that is, that the Prophet here encourages the faithful to entertain hope of salvation, because God would raise up his only-begotten Son, whose resurrection would be the common life of the whole Church.
Yet this sense seems to me rather too refined. We must always mind this, that we fly not in the air. Subtle speculations please at first sight, but afterwards vanish. Let every one, then, who desires to make proficiency in the Scriptures always keep to this rule — to gather from the Prophets and apostles only what is solid.
Let us now see what the Prophet meant. He here adds, I doubt not, a second source of consolation, that is, that if God should not immediately revive his people, there would be no reason for delay to cause weariness, as it is wont to do; for we see that when God suffers us to languish long, our spirits fail; and those who at first seem cheerful and courageous enough, in process of time become faint. As, then, patience is a rare virtue, Hosea here exhorts us patiently to bear delay, when the Lord does not immediately revive us. Thus then did the Israelites say, After two days will God revive us; on the third day he will raise us up to life
What did they understand by two days? Even their long affliction; as though they said, “Though the Lord may not deliver us from our miseries the first day, but defer longer our redemption, our hope ought not yet to fail; for God can raise up dead bodies from their graves no less than restore life in a moment.” When Daniel meant to show that the affliction of the people would be long, he says,‘
After a time, times, and half time,’ (Daniel 7:25.)
That mode of speaking is different, but then as to sense it is the same. He says, ‘after a time,’ that is, after a year; that would be tolerable: but it follows, ‘and times,’ that is, many years: God afterwards shortens that period, and brings redemption at a time when least expected. Hosea mentions here two years, because God would not afflict his people for one day, but, as we have before seen, subdue them by degrees; for the perverseness of the people had so prevailed, that they could not be soon healed. As when diseases have been striking roots for a long time, they cannot be immediately cured, but there is need of slow and various remedies; and were a physician to attempt immediately to remove a disease which had taken full possession of a man, he certainly would not cure him, but take away his life: so also, when the Israelites, through their long obstinacy, had become nearly incurable, it was necessary to lead them to repentance by slow punishments. They therefore said, After two days God will revive us; and thus they confirmed themselves in the hope of salvation, though it did not immediately appear: though they long remained in darkness, and the exile was long which they had to endure, they yet did not cease to hope: “Well, let the two days pass, and the Lord will revive us.”
We see that a consolation is here opposed to the temptations, which take from us the hope of salvation, when God suspends his favor longer than our flesh desires. Martha said to Christ, ‘He is now putrid, it is the fourth day.’ (27) She thought it absurd to remove the stone from the sepulchre, because now the body of Lazarus was putrified. But Christ in this instance designed to show his own incredible power by restoring a putrid body to life. So the faithful say here, The Lord will raise us up after two days: “Though exile seems to be like the sepulchre, where putridity awaits us, yet the Lord will, by his ineffable power, overcome whatever may seem to obstruct our restoration.” We now perceive, as I think, the simple and genuine sense of this passage.
But at the same time I do not deny but that God has exhibited a remarkable and a memorable instance of what is here said in his only-begotten Son. As often then as delay begets weariness in us, and when God seems to have thrown aside every care of us, let us flee to Christ; for, as it has been said, His resurrection is a mirror of our life; for we see in that how God is wont to deal with his own people: the Father did not restore life to Christ as soon as he was taken down from the cross; he was deposited in the sepulchre, and he lay there to the third day. When God then intends that we should languish for a time, let us know that we are thus represented in Christ our head, and hence let us gather materials of confidence. We have then in Christ an illustrious proof of this prophecy. But in the first place, let us lay hold on what we have said, that the faithful here obtain hope for themselves, though God extends not immediately his hand to them, but defers for a time his grace of redemption.
Then he adds, We shall live in his sight, or before him. Here again the faithful strengthen themselves, for God would favor them with his paternal countenance, after he had long turned his back on them, We shall live before his face For as long as God cares not for us, a sure destruction awaits us; but as soon as he turns his eyes to us, he inspires life by his look alone. Then the faithful promise this good to themselves that God’s face will shine again after long darkness: hence also they gather the hope of life, and at the same time withdraw themselves from all those obstacles which obscure the light of life; for while we run and wander here and there, we cannot lay hold on the life which God promises to us, as the charms of this world are so many veils, which prevent our eyes to see the paternal face of God. We must then remember that this sentence is added, that the faithful, when it pleases God to turn his back on them, may not doubt but that he will again look on them. Let us now go on —
(27) John 11:39. — fj.
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/hosea-6.html. 1840-57.
And they will say,
Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up ( Hsa Hosea 6:1 ).
This is the prayer that they will be offering unto God or this is the declaration that they'll be making to each other. "Come, and let us return unto the Lord. He has torn us, but He will heal us. He has smitten us, but He will bind us up."
After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight ( Hsa Hosea 6:1-2 ).
This is a fascinating prophecy, because if you look at the nation Israel, it has been almost two thousand years since they existed as a nation. Now we read in Peter that a thousand years is as a day unto the Lord and a day is as a thousand years. Using that formula, the two days would be two thousand years. That would completely coincide with the facts, for Israel has been smitten for about two thousand years and we are seeing the revival of the nation. "In the third day He will raise us up," in third millennia. And we see Israel being raised up. "In the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.
That is, the Messiah will be there and they will dwell with the Messiah. In the millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ, Israel the nation will again have a very prominent place and God will fulfill all of the unfulfilled promises of the Old Testament upon the nation. First of all, the expansion of their borders to that area that God had promised them. Secondly, the King forever upon the throne of David to order it and to establish it in righteousness and in judgment, henceforth even forever, the Messiah and His reign. And this is an extremely fascinating prophecy, because as we look at the situation as it exists today, using the thousand-year day formula, you say, "Well, how do you know you can use that?" Because it fits. Surely it is not two literal days, and the fact that it has been two thousand years and now they are being raised up. We look forward to the beginning of that three-thousandth year, which will be the seven-thousandth year in the history man. And you have again all of the other interesting analogies of the Old Testament where a servant was to serve for six years but the seventh year he was to be set free. And so we look forward to that glorious seventh millennia when Christ shall sit upon the throne of David, and they, Israel, shall live in His sight.
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and the former rain unto the eaRuth ( Hsa Hosea 6:3 ).
So this glorious promise as the latter rain and as the former rain unto the earth so that the blessings of the last days, and that's what it is making a reference to, of God's restoration on Israel. The blessings of that day are going to be absolutely glorious. Paul the apostle, in writing of this day of restoration, said, "If the cutting off of them brought the glory and salvation unto the Gentiles, what will the restoration be? But the glorious, really, restoration of the whole world." The Kingdom Age, the millennial reign of Christ.
Now God cries out to Ephraim, the Northern Kingdom:
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? ( Hsa Hosea 6:4 )
And then unto Judah:
O, Judah, what shall I so unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away ( Hsa Hosea 6:4 ).
Of course, this is something that we could relate to here in Southern California, the morning clouds. So often we hear on the news report, "Early morning clouds along the coast," you know. And they burn off, that's the thing about the early morning cloud, it doesn't last; they burn off. As soon as the sun raises in the sky, the early morning clouds burn off. And so the goodness of Ephraim and of Judah didn't last; it would burn off.
Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For [the Lord said] I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than the burnt offerings ( Hsa Hosea 6:5-6 ).
The people were still going on with the form of religion, the form of worship, but they lacked the real essence. God was looking for them to have the attitudes of mercy; God was desiring that they should have a knowledge of Him, but all they had was a form of religion. They still had the burnt offerings, they still had the sacrifices, but they really didn't have a vital relationship with God.
You remember when Jesus addressed Himself to the church of Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2, He said, "I have this against thee." He said, "I know thy works, working church." And He remarks, He makes special comment on their works. But He said, "I have this against you: you've left your first love." We see so many churches like that today. They are working churches. I mean they've got so many committees and everybody, you know, is being bugged by somebody else to do their job, and if you don't do your job there's someone whose gonna be giving you a call or writing you a note or whatever. I mean they got the whole thing so smoothly organized and they're a working church; they've got all the motions. But Jesus said, "You don't have the emotion. You don't have the love."
Here it was with Ephraim, with Judah. You've got the sacrifices, you've got the burnt offerings, but there's no mercy; there's no real knowledge of God. I would rather that you be merciful. I'd rather that you really know Me. This would be preferable to just the formal works.
But they like men have transgressed the covenant: they have dealt treacherously against me. Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity, it's polluted with blood. And as troops of robbers they wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness ( Hsa Hosea 6:7-9 ).
So the priesthood was guilty and were as a troop of robbers. Now according to the original Hebrew they were actually lying in wait for those who were fleeing to the cities of refuge and were killing them.
I've seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is whoredom of Ephraim, and Israel is defiled. Also, O Judah, he has set a harvest for thee, when I return the captivity of my people ( Hsa Hosea 6:10-11 ). "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/hosea-6.html. 2014.
B. The restoration promises 6:1-3
This first part of chapter 6 envisions Israel’s repentance. The prophet predicted the words that the penitent generation of Israelites would say when they sought the Lord (Hosea 5:15). The message contains two cycles, each containing an exhortation (Hosea 6:1 a, Hosea 6:3 a) and a motivating promise (Hosea 6:1-3 b). [Note: Chisholm, "Hosea," p. 1393.]
"Some of the most gracious calls to repentance in all Scripture are found in Hosea 6:1-3 and Hosea 14:1-3." [Note: Kaiser, 197.]
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hosea-6.html. 2012.
He would revive them after a relatively brief period of judgment (two days; cf. Job 5:19; Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 30:15; Proverbs 30:18; Amos 1:3; Amos 1:6; Amos 1:9, et al.) and restore them to life and usefulness. He would do this so they might enjoy His fellowship and serve Him. The fact that Jesus Christ was in the tomb two days and arose on the third day is only a coincidental parallel. It is, however, one of many similarities between Christ and Israel.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/hosea-6.html. 2012.
After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up,.... The Jews, in their present state, are as dead men, both in a civil and spiritual sense, and their conversion and restoration will be as life from the dead; they are like persons buried, and, when they are restored, they will be raised out of their graves, both of sin and misery; see Romans 11:15; the time of which is here fixed, after two days, and on the third; which Jarchi interprets of the two temples that have been destroyed, and of the third temple to be built, which the Jews expect, but in vain, and when they hope for good times: Kimchi explains it of their three captivities, in Egypt, Babylon, and the present one, and so Ben Melech, from which they hope to be raised, and live comfortably; which sense is much better than the former: and with it may be compared Vitringa's s notion of the text, that the first day was between Israel's coming out of Egypt and the Babylonish captivity; the second day between that and the times of Antiochus, which was the third night; then the third day followed, which is the times of the Messiah: but the Targum comes nearer the truth, which paraphrases the words thus,
"he will quicken us in the days of consolation which are to come, and in the day of the resurrection of the dead he will raise us up;''
where by days of consolation are meant the days of the Messiah, with which the Jews generally connect the resurrection of the dead; and if we understand them of the last days of the Messiah, it is not much amiss; for the words respect the quickening and raising up of the Jews in the latter day, the times of Christ's spiritual coming and reign: and these two and three days may be expressive of a long and short time, as interpreters differently explain them; of a long time, as the third day is a long time for a man to lie dead, when there can be little or no hope of his reviving, Luke 24:21; or of a short time, for which two or three days is a common phrase; and both true in this case: it is a long time Israel and Judah have been in captivity, and there may seem little hope of their restoration; but it will be a short time with the Lord, with whom a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years: and this I take to be the sense of the words, that after the second Millennium, or the Lord's two days, and at the beginning of the third, will be the time of their conversion and restoration, reckoning from the last destruction of them by the Romans; for not till then were Israel and Judah wholly in a state of death: many of Israel were mixed among those of Judah before the Babylonish captivity, and many returned with them from it; but, when destroyed by the Romans, there was an end of their civil and church state; which will both be revived on a better foundation at this period of time: but if this conjecture is not agreeable (for I only propose it as such), the sense may be taken thus, that in a short time after the repentance of Israel, and their conversion to the Lord, they will be brought into a very comfortable and happy state and condition, both with respect to things temporal and spiritual;
and we shall live in his sight; comfortably, in a civil sense, in their own land, and in the possession of all their privileges and liberties; and in a spiritual sense, by faith on Jesus Christ, whom they shall now embrace, and in the enjoyment of the Gospel and Gospel ordinances; and the prophet represents the penitents and faithful among them as believing and hoping for these things. This may be applied to the case of sensible sinners, who, as they are in their natural state dead in sin, and dead in law, so they see themselves to be such when awakened; and yet entertain a secret hope that sooner or later they shall be revived and refreshed, and raised up to a more comfortable state, and live in the presence of God, and the enjoyment of his favour. The ancient fathers generally understood these words of Christ, who was buried on the sixth day, lay in the grave the whole seventh day, and after these two days, on the third, rose again from the dead; and to this passage the apostle is thought to have respect, 1 Corinthians 15:3; and also of the resurrection of his people in and with him, and by virtue of his: and true it is that Christ rose from the dead on the third day, and all his redeemed ones were quickened and raised up together with him as their head and representative, Ephesians 2:5; and his in virtue of his being quickened that they are regenerated and quickened, and made alive, in a spiritual sense; he is the author of their spiritual life, and their life itself; see 1 Peter 1:3; and not only in virtue of his resurrection is their spiritual resurrection from the death of sin to a life of grace, but even their corporeal resurrection at the last day; and as, in consequence of their spiritual resurrection, they live in the sight of God a life of grace and holiness by faith in Christ, and in a comfortable view and enjoyment of the divine favour; so they shall live eternally in the presence of God, where are fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore: but the first sense is best, and most agreeable to the context and scope of it.
s Comment. in Isa. viii. 20.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/hosea-6.html. 1999.
|Penitential Resolutions; Promises.||B. C. 758.|
1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
These may be taken either as the words of the prophet to the people, calling them to repentance, or as the words of the people to one another, exciting and encouraging one another to seek the Lord, and to humble themselves before him, in hopes of finding mercy with him. God had said, In their affliction they will seek me; now the prophet, and the good people his friends, would strike while the iron was hot, and set in with the convictions their neighbours seemed to be under. Note, Those who are disposed to turn to God themselves should do all they can to excite, and engage, and encourage others to return to him. Observe,
I. What it is they engage to do: "Come, and let us return to the Lord,Hosea 6:1; Hosea 6:1. Let us go no more to the Assyrian, nor send to king Jareb; we have had enough of that. But let us return to the Lord, return to the worship of him from our idolatries, and to our hope in him from all our confidences in the creature." Note, It is the great concern of those who have revolted from God to return to him. And those who have gone from him by consent, and in a body, drawing one another to sin, should by consent, and in a body, return to him, which will be for his glory and their mutual edification.
II. What inducements and encouragements to do this they fasten upon, to stir up one another with.
1. The experience they had had of his displeasure: "Let us return to him, for he has torn, he has smitten. We have been torn, and it was he that tore us; we have been smitten, and it was he that smote us. Therefore let us return to him, because it is for our revolts from him that he has torn and smitten us in anger, and we cannot expect that he should be reconciled to us till we return to him; and for this end he has afflicted us thus, that we might be wrought upon to return to him. His hand will be stretched out still against us if the people turn not to him that smites them," Isaiah 9:12; Isaiah 9:13. Note, The consideration of the judgments of God upon us and our land, especially when they are tearing judgments, should awaken us to return to God by repentance, and prayer, and reformation.
2. The expectation they had of his favour: "He that has torn will heal us, he that has smitten will bind us up," as the skilful surgeon with a tender hand binds up the broken bone or bleeding wound. Note, The same providence of God that afflicts his people relieves them, and the same Spirit of God that convinces the saints comforts them; that which is first a Spirit of bondage is afterwards a Spirit of adoption. This is an acknowledgement of the power of God (he can heal though we be ever so ill torn), and of his mercy (he will do it); nay, therefore he has torn that he may heal. Some think this points particularly to the return of the Jews out of Babylon, when they sought the Lord, and joined themselves to him, in the prospect of his gracious return to them in a way of mercy. Note, It will be of great use to us, both for our support under our afflictions and for our encouragement in our repentance, to keep up good thoughts of God and of his purposes and designs concerning us. Now this favour of God which they are here in expectation of is described in several instances:--
(1.) They promise themselves that their deliverance out of their troubles should be to them as life from the dead (Hosea 6:2; Hosea 6:2): "After two days he will revive us (that is, in a short time, in a day or two), and the third day, when it is expected that the dead body should putrefy and corrupt, and be buried out of our sight, then will he raise us up, and we shall live in his sight, we shall see his face with comfort and it shall be reviving to us. Though he forsake for a small moment, he will gather with everlasting kindness." Note, The people of God may not only be torn and smitten, but left for dead, and may lie so a great while; but they shall not always lie so, nor shall they long lie so; God will in a little time revive them; and the assurance given them of this should engage them to return and adhere to him. But this seems to have a further reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ; and the time limited is expressed by two days and the third day, that it may be a type and figure of Christ's rising the third day, which he is said to do according to the scriptures, according to this scripture; for all the prophets testified of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. Let us see and admire the wisdom and goodness of God, in ordering the prophet's words so that when he foretold the deliverance of the church out of her troubles he should at the same time point out our salvation by Christ, which other salvations were both figures and fruits of; and, though they might not be aware of this mystery in the words, yet now that they are fulfilled in the letter of them in the resurrection of Christ it is a confirmation to our faith that this is he that should come, and we are to look for no other. And it is every way suitable that a prophecy of Christ's rising should be thus expressed, "He will raise us up, and we shall live," for Christ rose as the first-fruits, and we revive with him, we live through him; he rose for our justification, and all believers are said to be risen with Christ. See Isaiah 26:19. And it would serve for a comfort to the church then, and an assurance that God would raise them out of their low estate, for in his fulness of time he would raise his Son from the grave, who would be the life and glory of his people Israel. Note, A regard by faith to a rising Christ is a great support to a suffering Christian, and gives abundant encouragement to a repenting returning sinner; for he has said, Because I live, you shall live also.
(2.) That then they shall improve in the knowledge of God (Hosea 6:3; Hosea 6:3): Then shall we know, if we follow on to know, the Lord. Then, when God returns in mercy to his people and designs favour for them, he will, as a pledge and fruit of his favour, give them more of the knowledge of himself; the earth shall be full of that knowledge,Isaiah 11:9. Knowledge shall be increased,Daniel 12:4. All shall know God,Jeremiah 31:34. We shall know, we shall follow to know, the Lord, (so the words are); and it may be taken as the fruit of Christ's resurrection, and the life we live in God's sight by him, that we shall have not only greater means of knowledge, but grace to improve in knowledge by those means. Note, When God designs mercy for a people he gives them a heart to know him,Jeremiah 24:7. Those that have risen with Christ have the spirit of wisdom and revelation given them. And if we understand our living in his sight, as the Chaldee paraphrast does, of the day of the resurrection of the dead, it fitly follows, We shall know, we shall follow to know, the Lord; for in that day we shall see him be perfected, and yet be eternally increasing. Or, taking it as we read it, If we follow on to know, we have here, [1.] A precious blessing promised: Then shall we know, shall know the Lord, then when we return to God; those that come to God shall be brought into an acquaintance with him. When we are designed to live in his sight, then he gives us to know him; for this is life eternal to know God,John 17:3. [2.] The way and means of obtaining this blessing. We must follow on to know him. We must value and esteem the knowledge of God as the best knowledge, we must cry after it, and dig for it (Proverbs 2:3; Proverbs 2:4), must seek and intermeddle with all wisdom (Proverbs 18:1), and must proceed in our enquiries after this knowledge and our endeavours to improve in it. And, if we do the prescribed duty, we have reason to expect the promised mercy, that we shall know more and more of God, and be at last perfect in this knowledge.
(3.) That then they shall abound in divine consolations: His going forth is prepared as the morning, that is, the returns of his favour, which he had withdrawn from us when he went and returned to his place. His out-goings again are prepared and secured to us as firmly as the return of the morning after a dark night, and we expect it, as those do that wait for the morning after a long night, and are sure that it will come at the time appointed and will not fail; and the light of his countenance will be both welcome to us and growing upon us, unto the perfect day, as the light of the morning is. He shall come to us, and be welcome to us, as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth, which refreshes it and makes it fruitful. Now this looks further than their deliverance out of captivity, and, no doubt, was to have its full accomplishment in Christ, and the grace of the gospel. The Old-Testament saints followed on to know him, earnestly looked for redemption in Jerusalem; and at length the out-goings of divine grace in him, in his going forth to visit this world, were [1.] As the morning to this earth when it is dark for he went forth as the sun of righteousness, and in him the day-spring from on high visited us. His going forth was prepared as the morning, for he came in the fulness of time; John Baptist was his fore-runner, nay, he was himself the bright and morning star. [2.] As the rain to this earth when it is dry. He shall come down as the rain upon the mown grass,Psalms 72:6. In him showers of blessings descend upon this world, which give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,Isaiah 55:10. And the favour of God in Christ is what is said of the king's favour, like the cloud of the latter rain,Proverbs 16:15. The grace of God in Christ is both the latter and the former rain, for by it the good work of our fruit-bearing is both begun and carried on.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/hosea-6.html. 1706.
Our Miseries, Messengers of Mercy
July 14th, 1861 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
"Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." Hosea 6:1-2 .
Tender fathers seek first to will their children by gentle means. The Lord, in his long-suffering, dealt very kindly with his erring Israel, sending them favor after favor, and blessing after blessing, saying by his acts, "I have given them their corn, and their wine, and their oil, they will surely turn unto me and say, 'Our Father, thou shalt be the guide of our youth.' But the more he multiplied his bounties, the more they multiplied their iniquities, and they burned sacrifice unto the gods of Edom, and of Moab, even to those that were no gods, saying, "These be thy gods, O Israel, which have given unto thee thy corn, and thy wine, and thy oil;" so they spent the mercies of God in sacrifice upon their idols, and committed transgressions with the false gods of the heathen, consuming upon their lusts the very mercies which God had sent to bring them to repentance. When at last God saw that this measure did not move them, because their sin was written as with an iron pen, and graven upon the very horns of their altars, then he tried harsher means; he hewed them by the prophets; they rose early and they prophesied until the going down of the sun, giving line upon line, precept upon precept, threatening them with the anger and vengeance of God. At last that vengeance came; he carried them away captive, and they went into a land that they knew not, among a cruel people, whose speech they could not understand. Again he delivered them out of the hand of their enemy; and yet, again, because of their sin, he sold them to Assyria, and afterwards to Babylon, that at last, after they had been rent and torn, they might say within themselves, "Come, and let us return unto the Lord." Now, my brethren, the people of Israel are but a picture of ourselves; especially are they representatives of a certain class, some of whom are now present. God has tried you with mercy upon mercy; kept you long in health, till you scarce ever had a day's sickness; given you all that you could wish, till your cup was brimming and flowing over; but you used his mercies for your own self-indulgence, and the bodily strength which was given you to be a blessing you have made a curse. Streams of mercy never ceasing God has vouchsafed to you, but your only return has been stream of sin, broad, and black, and deep. And now to-day he has been changing his ways with you. I am speaking to some whom God has of late heavily afflicted; seeing gentler means would not do, he has turned your wine into wormwood, and your honey into gall; he has made you sick in body and dispirited in mind; your earthly goods are melting like snow before the summer's sun; your children die before your very eyes, and the desire of your heart is taken away with a stroke. God has made all his waves and his billows go over you; the law has sounded ids trumpet in your ear and brought your sin to remembrance; conscience has started up in alarm from its long sleep and cries like a mighty man that waketh up from his slumber and finds the camp besieged. You are troubled and sore broken; your heart is melted like wax in the midst of your bowels, so that while you are sitting in the house of God to-day you are complaining. "I am the man that has seen affliction;" and perhaps worse thank that you are groaning, "His wrath lieth hard upon me, I cannot look up." It is to you I am about to speak this morning. I single you out from the crowd, and yet I trust while I address you there may be also some words of comfort or of instruction for the rest of the congregation. Oh! may you, nay hearer, you upon whom I fix my eye this morning, you whose case is the case of Israel in Hosea, may you say, "Come, and let us return unto the Lord, for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up." I desire to come straight up to you who are in this condition and put my hand inside yours, holding you fast while I strive in God's name to reason with you, beseeching God the Holy Spirit to reason better than I can, sweetly moving your soul, till you say, "I will arise and go unto my Father." Three things I must do this morning; first, I must deal a blow, at the old Tempter, who has got the first hand at you; secondly, I will come to reason comfortably with you; and then, thirdly, I must lovingly persuade you, saying "Come, let us return unto the Lord." I. First then, I must DEAL A BLOW AT THE OLD TEMPTER, WHO HAS GOT BEFORE ME AND HAS BEGUN TO DECEIVE YOU. I cannot tell what is the precise temptation that Satan has been using with you, but I think it is very likely to be one of four. The first one has been this "Oh," saith he, "see how troubled you are, nothing prospers with you; what pains of body you suffer, and how depressed you are in spirit. God is a tyrant to you, he treats you cruelly; hate him, set your teeth together and curse him; say no, if he treats me thus he is not a God that I can love, I will abhor him from my very soul." I have uttered that temptation in startling language because such dark insinuations as this have been very common with much tried and troubled men. I remember many who, in telling their experience of how they were brought to Christ, have confessed that when first the hammer of God's law fell upon their hearts it hardened them, when God smote, they were like the bullock which kicks against the pricks of the ox-goad; they felt like a high blooded, unbroken horse, the bit was in their mouths, but they pulled and tugged at it, and the more it cut and wounded them the more resolved they were that they would not turn, in fact, hatred was stirred up against God by what was intended to bring them to his feet. Soul, doth Satan tempt thee thus? Then indeed it is a sad proof that sin is madness. I can only compare thy case to you poor maniac, who has labored hard to destroy himself by existing himself into the fire or into the water. Some kind person, willing to bear all the inconveniences of such an office, has volunteered to be his keeper. See, the man is dashing to the water's brink and means to throw himself into the stream, his keeper holds him back, and with stern words and sterner acts throws him down upon the ground, and binds him so that he cannot take the fatal leap. But look again, he longs to burn himself, he makes a tremendous effort to thrust his body into the flame, but his keeper shuts him up in a room where he cannot get at the devouring flame. All the "while this madman hates him, curses him, spits upon him, and would do anything if he could but kill his keeper and tear him to pieces in his fury. Mark you, when yonder maniac shall get back his reason, he will kiss the feet of that man whom now he hates, he will say "I bless you for the loving violence which has restrained me from my own destruction, I thank you for denying me my own will, that you stood in my path and thwarted my mad desire, and that you would not let me ruin myself." Now, poor sinner, God is doing this with you. Oh! do not hate him. He does not hate you; he is not coaling with you in wrath, but in mercy. There is still behind the black cloud the sun of his mercy shining. Oh! that Satan may be cast out of you that you may not be tempted to hate God because of his sore smitings of you. Or, perhaps, the temptations of Satan have taken another shape, not so much hatred as sullenness. You have lost all you care for now, and you think that your state does not matter much to you, you would as soon die as live, and as for your soul, you think you cannot be more wretched in hell itself than you are, and you say, "So let it be; it is so bad that it cannot be mended." You do not bestir yourself, but you sit down with a stony heart waiting to be crushed. You are like some poor man benighted on the frozen Alps, who feels sleep creeping upon him, and is content to lie down there and die, as he certainly must unless some friendly hand shall shake him out of his desperate sleep. There is a kind of numbness which pain brings to the body, which has its equivalent in the spirit, a numbness because the grief has been so acute, that nature could bear no more. Then death itself loses its horror in the nearer terrors of the soul. "My soul chooseth strangling rather than life." Soul, Satan desireth to have thee that he may utterly destroy thee, and this is one of his ways, he seeks to make thee torpid that he may find thee dead; for when thou art sullen he knows that the warnings of the ministry, and the earnest exhortations of the gospel, will have but little force with thee. Wake, man, wake! thy dander is awful! Multitudes have perished here. Wake, I pray thee, wake! Oh! if thou hast any sensibility left, bestir thee. Depend on it, that bad as thy case is, it will be worse in the world to come, unless the badness of it be now blessed to thy soul. Oh! man, the pains thou hast had as yet are but as the finger-ache, they are but mere trifles compared with the miseries of eternity. Instead of opiates to make thee sleep, let them be goads to stir thy sluggish flesh, and make thee start from the deadly couch of presumption. I would be but too glad if I might thrust lancets into thee again, and again, anything sooner than you should sleep that sleep of death and be utterly destroyed. Possibly, however, the temptation of Satan has taken the form of despair. "Oh," saith he, "there is no hope for you; you can clearly perceive that you are the subject of divine hatred; God has not dealt with others as he has with you; these trials are but to first drops of the long shower of his eternal wrath. Depend upon it," says Satan, "now that your conscience is in this state, your convictions will deepen into a settled remorse, and then that remorse will end in final despair, and everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord; your sins are too many and too great; there is hope for any man, but there is no hope for you; you are beyond the lines of mercy; the arm of grace is not long enough or strong enough to reach such a wretch as you are; you are not jammed in hell yet, but you are the same as if you were; you are reprobate; the decree shuts you out of heaven, while the greatness of your sin confirms it; you are bound up in fetters that cannot be broken and cast into a horrible pit lout of which you never can be drawn." Satan, thou art a liar, oh! that this poor heart did know it: I tell thee this to thy face, for thou didst once bewitch me with thy falsehood. Thou didst bring me into this state of despair too till I was ready to put an end to myself, because I thought nothing awaited me but the wrath of God. Oh! thou lying hell-hound, how thou didst slander my Lord and Master. He was willing to receive me, but thou modest me think he would reject me; he stood waiting about the door of my heart, saying, "Open to me," and thou saidst that he had gone, that he had shut up the bowels of his compassion, and doomed for ever to destruction. I will be even with thee, thou great destroyer of souls, for thy cruel treachery with me, as long as I live I will raise the hue and cry against thee. Soul, do not thou believe him, he is a murderer of souls, and a liar from the beginning; there is hope for you; there is hope for you now. There is still the gospel preached to you: still is it freely presented in your hearing. May you say today, "Come, let us return unto the Lord" and he will heal you; he will bind you up; he will receive you to his heart; he will in no wise cast you out. But it may occur, that yet a fourth temptation has been tried with some of you. Satan has said, "Well, now, you can see it is of no use. Give it up altogether, and if you cannot be happy one way, try another; you clearly perceive that you are shut out of heaven, well, make the best of this world." "Now," says the devil, "Christ will not have you, what is the use of your going to a place of worship? Do not go, stay away, it is hopeless; the gospel will never be of any use to you; you have heard it these three or four years, and you only get more hardened; don't go again; besides, why make yourself miserable for nothing; drink your fill of the world's delight, if you cannot get the best good, get the other; eat, drink, and be merry; live a fast life, and satisfy yourself; you may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb; you may as well perish for a great sin as perish for a little one. God evidently has cast you off, follow your own way and choose your own delight." Oh! soul, oh! soul, how sad it is that these afflictions and warnings of conscience which are meant to bring you to Christ should be used by Satan as the reason why you should go from Christ. Oh! soul, the Lord has designs of mercy for you now he has begun to try you in your circumstances and afflict you in your soul; and the devil knows it, and is afraid of losing you and so he wants you to get out of the way of mercy just when mercy is coming. What, suppose you have as yet gained no good by attending the means of grace, does that prove that you will not soon be blessed? You are travelling in the wilderness, you had a torch, and the wind blew it out: you lit it again, and it blew it out again, do not say that therefore you will never see. The sun is rising, the sun is rising, and the fact that torches have been blown out does not prove that the night will last for ever. If your false hopes have left you, and your self-righteous trusts have all been taken away, I am glad. I am glad it is dark with you, for the darkest part of the night is that which heralds the dawning of the day. I am glad the Lord has laid you how, for it is now he means to hit you up. Do not I pray you be cajoled out of this divine mercy by the temptations of the fiend of hell. Rouse thee, man! Cry, "Through he slay me yet will I trust in him! If I be at Bethesda's pool and the water be not stirred, yet will I die there," (that you will never do; mark that) "though I pray, and he hears me not, yet my cries even to my dying hour shall go up to him." And mark you, he will surely hear you; only, do not be led astray of the Evil One to turn what is the mercy of God into an excuse for excess of riot; but, do you rather listen now to the voice of wisdom and mercy, while I seek in the second place to reason with you comfortably that I may bring you to say, "Come, let us return unto the Lord." II. Now forget your troubles, for a little while if you can, or only think of them as a background for the brightness of THE COMFORT which I would give you as God's messenger. 1. So you say you have had so many trials in life, and so many strivings of conscience, that therefore you feel you must be too guilty to be saved. Do you think that you have been punished for your sins? Permit me to remind you that this is not the place where the Judge of all the earth usually punishes sin; his wrath he reserves for the day of judgment and the world to come. All sorrow is the result of sin, but still it does not come to any particular man, except in some remarkable instances, because of any special sin in him. Now there was Job will you equal him among the saints? Was he not one of the chief of them? Yet he was more tried than any other man; that evidently was not because he was a greater sinner than others. Do you not know the fact that often the most wicked men are the most prosperous, whilst the most holy are the most afflicted? Therefore this is not the place where God dispenses providence according to the sole and absolute rule of justice; that is to be in the world to come? How would you account for such an instance as this, which occurred not long ago in a certain railway accident? There were two men who entered the train; one of them a Christian, the other a worldling. The Christian man took his seat; so did the other. At a station the worldly one said, "I should like a game of cards; will you get out and go with me? there is So-and-so in such a carriage; come with me, and we will play together." "No," said the other, "I would much rather be out of your company, if that is what you are at." "Well then," said he, "good morning, I am going there." An accident of the most frightful character occurred; the Christian man saw those on each side of lam killed; his two companions crushed, and himself such a mass of bruises and broken brings as you scarcely ever saw; his leg broken in seven different places, and himself as it seemed at death's doctor. His companion who went to play cards, was perfectly safe all the carriage in which he rode was untouched! Now, this plainly shows that this is of the world in which God deals with men according to the rules of justice. Ships sink whether men are at prayer, or whether they are cursing God. Providence here is not ordered according to the rule by which God shall dispense his favors or his fury in the world to come. This is the land of long-suffering rather than of execution. This is the land where God in his wise providence rather brings us to repentance than to punishment. Now I can see the hand of God in all. The man who escaped as a card player, I fear, was hardened by the providence by which he escaped. Yet, mark you, God was glorified, because his providence will become a savor of death unto death to that man should he live and die impenitent, while in the Christian who was thus injured God is honored, for if you could see him as I saw him, with his smiling face relating the fact that he has never murmured once, though he had laid upon his bed for very many weeks, you would only admire the favor and goodness of God which gave the sinner space for repentance, and gave the believer room to display the grace of patience. It was good for the one that he was afflicted, it was good for the other that he escaped. But this is not the hand of punishment, and your having more afflictions than others, may be because God loves you; certainly it is not because he hates you. I have seen the wicked in great power, spreading themselves like green bay-trees; and I have seen them in their death too, and they are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men; they are at ease, they are settled on their lees; they are not emptied from vessel to vessel. As for God's people, they are chastened every morning, and vexed every evening and the Lord's hand lieth heavy on them; yet there is God's goodness in that heavy hand, and infinite lovingkindness in their tribulations. God only gives the wicked prosperity as we give husks to swine; he gives them this world's transient things because he loves them not. I pray you then, do not misconstrue your sufferings of body and mind, they may be tokens of mercy; they certainly are not indicators of any special wrath. Secondly, you will say that you have great distress of mind, and trials of soul, and therefore there is no hope for you. I say, therefore, there is hope. Perhaps some of those troubles of mind come from Satan. Now observe this, Satan very seldom troubles those men who are all his own. A poor negro who had been tempted by Satan was once laughed at by his master about it. Said he, "The devil never tempts me, I do not even know that there is such a being in existence." They went out sometime after shooting wild ducks, and as the master shot at a covey of them and borne of them were wounded he was exceedingly earnest with clubs and stones to secure those that were wounded, while he left those that were evidently dead to float on the stream till he had time to pick them up. This gave the negro a fine opportunity of explaining his master's experience. "Massa, whilst you was a splashin' in de water after dem wounded ducks, and lettin' de dead ones float on, it jist come into my mind why it is dat de debil troubles me so much whilst he lets you alone. You are like de dead ducks, he's sure he's got you safe. I'm like de wounded ones, trying to git away from him, and he's afraid I'll die it, so he makes all de fuss after me and jist lets you float on down de stream. He knows he can get you any time, but he knows it now or never wid me. If you were to begin to flutter a little and show signs like you were a goin' to get away from him, he would make jist as big a splashin' after you as he does after me." But again, you will remember that it is not God's way to send convictions of sin to reprobates. Do men plough the sand? Do they send their oxen upon the rock? No, they attempt to use materials that are utterly rotten? No, they give them up, and leave them alone. Now, why is the all-wise Jehovah at work with you unless he has gracious designs for you; I hope it is because he is about to bring you to himself. Let me show you yet in the third place that this is according to the analogy of nature. Did you ever hear this parable? There was a certain shepherd who had a sheep, which he desired to lead into another and better field. He called it and it would not come, he led it and it would not follow, he drove it but it would only follow in own devices. At last he thought within himself "I will do this." The sheep had a little lamb by its side, and the shepherd took the lamb up in his arms, and carried it away, and then the ewe came too. And so with you, God has been calling to you, mother, and you did not come. Christ said "Come," and you would not, he sent affliction and you would not come, then he took your child away, and you came then, you followed the Savior then. You see it was loving work on the shepherd's part, he did but take the lamb to save the sheep, the Savior took your child to heaven that he might bring you to heaven. We had before the church the other night a sister who is here now I dare say, there were four in the family and the Lord took one child away. But that was not enough he took another, and another, and the fourth lay sick and ready to, die and then the mothers heart was broken, and mother and father both came to Jesus Oh! blessed afflictions, blessed losses, blessed deaths that end in spiritual life! Now this I trust is how God is dealing with you. You know, if a man has a field and desires to gather a harvest from it, what does he do? First of all he ploughs it. The field might say, "Why these scars across my face? Why thus upturn my sods?" Because there can be no sowing till there has been ploughing, sharp ploughshares make furrows for good seed. Or take yet another picture from nature. A man desireth to make of a rusty piece of iron a bright sword which shall be serviceable to a great warrior. What doth he do? He putteth it into the fire and melteth it, he taketh away all its dross and removeth all its till, then he fashioneth it with his hammer, he beateth it full sore upon the anvil, he anneals it in one fire after another till at last it comes out a good blade that will not snap in the day of warfare. This is what God doeth with you I pray you do not misread the book of God's providence, for if you read it aright it runs thus "I will have mercy on this man and therefore have I smitten him and wounded him. Come, therefore, let us return unto the Lord, for he hath wounded and he will heal, he hath smitten and he will bind us up." I have other arguments to use, and you must bear with me somewhat patiently. Thou art wounded in spirit this morning, poor mourner, wilt thou remember that it is God's delight to bind up broken hearts. "He telleth the number of the stars." What its the next verse do you remember it? "He bindeth up the broken in heart." What a mighty stoop this is! From counting the stars and leading them forth, mighty worlds though they be, he bows to become a surgeon to the poor wounded heart. You know what Christ's occupation is in heaven "If he shall wipe away tears from oft an faces." What a blessed occupation wiping away tears! Soul, Christ will be glad to wipe away thy tears now. He delights to do it Christ is never more happy than when he is showing his heart to shiners, he is so glad when he can find his poor lost sheep, and put it on his shoulders and carry it home. It will maker you glad to be saved; but he will be infinitely glad to save you, and delighted to receive you, for he delighteth in mercy. Please remember, yet once again, that the wounds which you now feel he made himself, and if he is willing to heal any wounds, how much more those that he has himself made. There are some diseases in which the surgeon is compelled to wound; the proud flesh has gotten in; the cure has been a bad one, and in order that it may be thoroughly sound, he perhaps makes a cross out, a deep cross cut that goes into the very core of the matter. Well, his lances has made a bad wound, do you think the doctor will not do his best to heal it? I will go to him and say, "Surgeon, thou didst thyself make the wound, thou modest it in order to my healing, heal the wound, I pray thee, heal me." Occasionally when a man has broken his leg, it has been badly set by some bungler, and when he has consulted a skillful surgeon, he says, "I can do nothing for you till I break your leg again." And so often is it with men's minds; they get peace, peace, when there is no peace, and there is no doing anything with them until God breaks their heart again. Suppose a surgeon should break a man's led again, do you think he would go away and leave the poor man without setting it? No, he broke that he might heal, that he might make the cure a sound one. And so is it, perhaps, with your broken heart. Go to him, then, go to him; say, "Lord, thou didst break my heart; I was a hard blasphemer once, but thou hast brought me to my knees. I once said, 'I would never enter a place of worship;' Lord, thou knowest I go there now, though I get no comfort there, but I pray thee give me comfort. It was such-and-such a sermon that brought me to despair; Lord, guide thy servant to preach another that will bring me into liberty. Lord, if thou hast not broken my heart, break it now; but if thou hast broken it, Lord, I appeal to thee to heal it. Thou hast begun the work by killing me, finish the work by making me alive; thou hast begun by stripping me, Lord, clothe me." That is good argument; he will surely do it, he will not fail to carry on and complete that which he has begun to perform. Once more only and perhaps this will be the best argument of all remember you have got his promise for it. The text I read as a promise. It looks at first sight as if it were spoken by man, and so it is; but then inasmuch as it is put in God's book as the utterance of God's inspired prophet, it is a part of God's word, and it is warranted to be most true. "He hath torn and he will heal." Go and put your finger on this text and say, "Lord, thou hast torn me, and it is written in thy word, 'He will heal us;'"
"Lord, I know thou canst not lie, Heal my soul or else I die."
Put you your finger on the next "He will bind us up." Say, "Lord, I do not deserve it; I deserve only to perish, but then thou hast said thou wilt do it, be as good as thy word. Lord, here is a poor sinner near despair, he comes to thee, bind up his broken heart; give him peace;" and soul, the everlasting hills shall bow, the hoary deep shall itself be burned up, and earth's foundation shall be removed, but God's word shall never pass away, nor shall his promise fail in one single case. Only believe the promise; receive the promise, and this very day, poor broken heart, he will heal thy wounds, and thou shalt have joy and peace in believing through Jesus Christ our Lord. III. I shall not detain you much longer, but I have now the third point to dwell on upon which earnestly. And O Spirit of the living God bless these words, Jesu, do thou woo hearts to thyself whilst we seek to will them to thy love. And now I would come LOVINGLY TO PERSUADE YOU, and the persuasion I would use is this "Come, let us return unto the Lord." Do you see it! The prophet does not say, "Go," but "Come;" he does not say, "Go you," but "Come, let us." Poor soul, thou sayest there is none like thyself; behold I take my place side-by-side with thee. Art thou a sinner? So am I. Dost thou deserve God's wrath? So do I. Hast thou gone very far astray? So have I. Come, let us return, let us go together. Or if that comfort thee not enough, let me tell thee I have gone as thou now art; as despairing, perhaps more so; as cast down, perhaps worse, but I have found him to be a loving Savior, a blessed Savior, willing and able to save to the uttermost. Soul, come and try him, come and try him. My brothers and sisters in Christ in Christ reject you when you came to him? You were as bad as others, some in you were worse, did he reject you? I am sure that if I should ask it there would be not one thousand here but a vast company, who would rise and say, "I sought the Lord and he heard me, this poor man cried, and the Lord heard me and delivered me from all my fears." Soul, come, let us return. He saved me; he will save you.
"Tell it unto sinners tell I am, I am saved from hell."
If he could and would save one, why not another; and if the thousands of Israel, why not poor sinful you? Then, that I may persuade you further, let me remind you that to return to God is not a cruel request to you. He does not ask you to perform a pilgrimage and blister your weary feet, or to thrust an iron in your back and swing yourself aloft as does the Hindoo, he asks you not to lie on a bed of spikes or starve yourself till you can count your bones. He asks no suffering of you, for Christ has suffered for you. All he asks is than you would return to him, and what is that? That you would be unfeignedly sorry for your past sin, that you would ask his grace to keep you from it in the future, that you would now believe in Christ who is set forth to be the propitiation for sin, that through faith in his blood you may see your sin for ever put away and all your iniquity cancelled. That is neither a hard nor a cruel demand. It is for your good as well as for his glory. O Spirit of God, make the sinner now willing to repent and to believe in Christ. But, yet again, remember the comfortable fruits which will surely follow if you return. What would you think if I could show you yourself within a week? There he stands; he is singing
"A debtor to mercy alone, Of covenant mercy I sing; Nor fear with thy righteousness on, My person and offering to bring.
The terrors of law and of God, With me can have nothing to do; My Savior's obedience and blood, Hide all my transgressions from view."
What man is that? Why, that is the man who came in here last Sunday morning, and said he was utterly lost. He heard the minister exhort him to trust Christ, and he did it, and that is where he is standing now. He has been brought up out of a horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and his feet are set upon a rock. "If I thought that would be the case," saith one, "I would try it." My dear sir, you need not think it will be the case. God promises and he cannot lie "He that believeth and is baptized," he does not say, "may be," but "shall be saved," and God's "shalls" and "wills" do not play with men; but he speaks them in real earnestness. "Whosoever calleth upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved." Dare you say that this is not true? "No," say you, "it is undoubtedly true." Well, then, if you call upon the name of the Lord you shall be saved, or else the promise is false. Again, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as wool; though they be red like crimson, they Enroll be whiter than snow." Do you believe that? Is it not a promise made to the penitent who casts himself at the feet of Jesus? Very well, try it personally, and if you cast yourself there, either this book must be withdrawn, and God must change, Christ's blood must lose its power, and God must un-God himself, or else he must and will save you. Oh! that there were such a heart in you, and such a mind towards God, that you would now say, "I do believe; I will believe; I trust my Savior with my soul." This done, you are saved. Once more, may I not plead with you to return to God, because of the precious love of Christ? Love, I know, has great power to move. You will remember how in that wonderful book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," there is a singular instance of the power of love. Miss Ophelia had been laboring to train up that wicked girl biopsy, but she would not learn anything, though Miss Ophelia tried to make her say the Assembly's Catechism, in order that she might know all about it. But one day, Eva, the little five, (the very gospel incarnate, just as Miss Ophelia was the picture of the law,) sits down by her side, and says to her, "Topsy, why will be so naughty; what is it makes you so wicked?" "Miss Eva," says Topsy, "it aren't no use any being good nobody loves me." The little girl puts her arm round her neck and kisses her, saying. "Why I love you, Topsy, and it grieves me very much to see you so naughty." "Oh!" said Topsy, "I will try to be good if you will but love me." Love had won the poor child, and had subdued her. Well, now, perhaps you are saying, "If Christ would but say he would love me, I think I could repent that I ever sinned against him; I think I would be willing to give him my heart." Soul, if that is what you say, he does love you. He loved you and gave himself for you. Behold his cross is there better proof of love than that? See his flowing wounds; hear how he groans; behold him dying! "It is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," and he saves them because he loves them. Oh! if that love will woo you, it is indeed in plenteous abundance flowing down to you now. "Ah! well," you say, "I cannot do enough for him." If that be true, I am glad you have got as far as that, and I have finished when I have told you an anecdote which I trust will do us all good. A missionary was preaching to the Maori tribe of the New Zealanders. He had been truing them of the suffering love of Christ, how he had poured forth his soul unto death for them; and as he concluded, the hills rung to the thrilling question "Is it nothing to an who pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto his Borrow?" Then stood forth a plumed and painted chief, the scarred warrior of a thousand fights, and as his lips quivered with suppressed emotion, he spoke. "And did the Son of the Highest suffer all this for us men? Then the Indian chief would like to offer him some poor return for his great love. Would the Son of God deign to accept the Indian's hunting dog? Swift of foot and keen of scent the tribe has not such another, and he has been to the Indian as a friend." But the missionary told him that the Son of God had need of no such gifts as these. Thinking he had mistaken the gift he resumed "Yet perchance he would accept the Indian's rifle? Unerring of aim, the chief cannot replace it." Again the missionary shook his head. For a moment the chief paused; then as a new thought struck him, suddenly despoiling himself of his striped blanket he cried with childlike earnestness, "Perhaps he who had not where to lay his head will yet accept the chieftain's blanket. The poor Indian will be cold without it, yet it is offered joyfully." Touched by love's persistency, the missionary tried to explain to him the real nature of the Son of God; that it was not men's gifts but men's hearts that he yearned for. For a moment a cloud of grief darkened the granite features of the old chief; then as the true nature of the Son of God slowly dawned upon him, casting aside his blanket and rifle he clasped his hands, and looking right up into the blue sky, his face beaming with joy, he exclaimed "Perhaps the Son of the Blessed One will deign to accept the poor Indian himself!" Is that what you say this morning? You would give Christ this, and that, and the other. Soul, give him your heart. Say to him now,
"Jesus, I love thy charming name, 'Tis music to my ear; Fain would I sound it out so loud, That earth and heaven might hear."
And then it is done; the compact is concluded; the work is over; thou art in the arms of Christ, thou lovest him and he loves thee. He wounded but he has healed; he killed thee but he has made thee alive. Go in peace; thou art loved much; thy sin which are many are all forgiven thee."
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Hosea 6:2". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/hosea-6.html. 2011.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25