Have you ever apologized for something but didn’t mean it? You know what I’m talking about. You feel obligated to apologize, but you aren’t truly sorry for what you’ve done or said. The Israelites seemed to do this frequently.
In Hosea six the Israelites make a pitiful attempt to repent for what they’ve done to get back in God’s good graces. They’re like little children on the playground who got caught doing something wrong so they apologize through gritted teeth. The Lord is no one’s fool. He isn’t fooled by empty words. He searches the heart and understands our motives even when we don’t voice them [1 Chronicles 28:9].
The Lord doesn’t seek rituals, practices, false apologies or sacrifices. He desires relationship, covenant relationship. He wants the type of intimacy indicated in Hosea 2:19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.” He doesn’t want us to play at having a relationship with Him. He wants the real deal.
Unfortunately, the Israelites were fickle. They were devoted to the Lord one minute, then turned on Him the next to prostitute themselves to other gods [Hosea 6:10]. Their position changed more frequently than the tide.
Now before we jump into judgment, we have to ask ourselves this question: Have we prostituted ourselves out to other things? Breathe! I’m not implying anyone is selling themselves on a street corner; however, we’re all guilty of giving our time, attention and resources to other things before God. We don’t always put Him first.
How many of us will spend hours in front of a television or on Facebook only to climb in bed and declare we’re too tired to read the Word or we fall asleep before we get to the second sentence of our prayers? How many of us will stay up until the wee hours of the morning finishing a good book, but won’t crack open the Good Book? How many of us treat ourselves to a trip through the Starbuck’s drive-through several times a week, yet say we don’t have money to spare when we receive a support letter from someone going on a mission trip? You get the idea.
The enemy is subtle [Job 24:14]. 2 Corinthians 11:3 says “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Christ wants our pure devotion. He wants to be first, not last. He wants our best, not our leftovers. Let us not be misled by the tricks and traps of the enemy. When we give the Lord what He desires, He returns the favor [Psalm 37:4]. What are you devoted to? Who and what are your priorities? Only you can decide.