Hosea 6:6 (HCSB)
6 For I desire loyalty and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
God here laments the situation, the attitude, of Israel. It seems we get a little more of a personal look at the sin of Israel and how that effects God. It’s a little bit of a personal look at the relationship from God’s point of view.
The pericope starts with a word picture of Israel’s fleeting loyalty to God, being likened to “morning mist” and “early dew”. God further describes Israel as “evildoers”, “raiders who wait in ambush”, promiscuous, and practitioners of “fraud”, throughout the pericope. We get the clear picture that Israel has “violated the covenant”. Israel repeatedly shows that they are sinful, that they rebel against God. And that there is a personal aspect to this through words like “betrayed” (Hosea 6:7) and “they are right in front of My face” (Hosea 7:2).
As a result of these actions, this rebellious attitude of Israel, we see God’s response. He recounts that the Israelites have been “cut down” and “killed with the words of My mouth”. But we see what God’s real plan, and desire is: it is not sacrifices and burnt offerings that He desires, it is loyalty and knowledge of Him! (Hosea 6:6) So despite the “atrocities” of Israel, God’s plan includes returning His people “from captivity”. And he will “heal Israel”!
The pericope ends with this tension: God’s plan of healing and saving of Israel set against the exposing of Israel’s sin, and that sin surrounding them, in God’s face. It is clear that Israel, that we, are incapable of resolving this sin, it is solely something God can resolve, and that tension seems to come through, it is foreboding. But we can continue to hold on to Hosea 6:6, knowing that God’s real desire is for us to know Him, not some system of sacrifice for the wring that we inevitably do, and His plan includes our redemption and healing.
Lord, thank You for wanting us to know You, to be close to You, as a child to a perfect father. Thank You for having a plan that overcomes our sin, my sin, and my continued rebellion, despite Your continued grace and mercy. I pray that we would seek to be loyal to, and know, You. Amen.