I will return again to My Place,
Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My Face,
And in their distress they seek Me, saying,
Come, let us return to the Lord;
For he has torn, that He may heal us;
He has stricken, and He will bind us up,
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live before Him.
Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
His going forth is sure as the dawn;
He will come to us as the showers,
As the spring rains that water the earth.
Restraining His Final Judgment
The prophet Hosea in the above Scripture is describing a very unique divine personal monologue that God is having with Himself without actually addressing a listener. The central idea for this reflective solitary discourse of God is revealed in the very first line: I will return again to My place. The implication is that God was about to leave His abode only to execute His judgment upon earth, and then decided to reconsider.
The applied grace and mercy of our God is noticed when the next line discloses that God will restrain His judgment until humanity acknowledges their guilt and seek His Face. In this particular reference, Israel is the focus of God’s concern yet all of humanity has been at the heart of God’s plan of redemption since the beginning of time as we know it. Just how and why does God require human-beings to seek His Face?
According to John Piper, in one of his articles [see the link below], describes how to seek God’s Face. Seeking the Lord means seeking his presence. “Presence” is a common translation of the Hebrew word “face.” Literally, we are to seek his “face.” But this is the Hebraic way of having access to God. To be before his face is to be in his presence. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-does-it-mean-to-seek-the-lord.
Living Before The Lord
Satisfying the question as to why human-beings are commanded to seek God’s face is noted in the verse which states: in their distress they seek Me. This innate response of human-beings toward God points to two major realities:
- An established relationship between two parties-[as noted in a binding covenant relationship]. When followers of Messiah are in distress, they understand that God is not only there for them, God delights in the encounter.
- The example of God’s greatest virtue- Agape [Love]. God desires that all human-beings are in the very best soul-care situation, while in this current time on earth, as well as the eternal time after transition.
Notice in the Scripture, the natural progression of God’s wisdom as it is applied to what His responsibilities are in this eternal covenant relationship between Himself and His creatures [you and I], as it is established by His love toward us:
- Come, let us return [repent, turning away from evil, thus returning ] to the Lord.
- For He has torn, that He may heal us; He has stricken, and He will bind us up. Healing and wholeness is provided and granted to those who are in covenant with God only on His terms/conditions.
- In God’s timing, He will revive us, and raise us up that we may live before Him. Outside of the divine will of God, we all are dead and devoid of life and purpose.
- Our redirection and re-dedication to the established covenant relation, moment by moment let us know that we can now press on to know the Lord [in His gentleness, grace, mercy and agape] as opposed in His righteous indignation[judgment] toward sin and evil.
To Know Him is To Serve Him
Then shall we know, [if] we follow on to know the Lord
This aspect of Scripture is an absolute fact; for as individuals are converted to Christ, they continue and increase in the knowledge of Him. In this new life, followers earnestly desire to know more of him, and eagerly pursue those means and methods by which they attain to a greater degree of it. Thus the words are, “and we shall know, we shall follow on to know the Lord” that grace, which has given the first measure of spiritual and experimental knowledge of Him, will influence and engage each follower to seek after more. “To know him”; that is, to serve him.
His going forth is prepared as the morning;
As indicated in the very beginning of this Hosea passage, God has delayed His judgement until a later time. This above reference speaks to His spiritual coming in the latter day, perhaps, in our own life-time. God’s going forth during this time will consist of the following:
- He will destroy antichrist;
- or of his going forth in the ministration of the Gospel, to the conversion of Jews and Gentiles,
- the light of which dispensation will be very great;
- it will be like a morning after a long night of darkness with the Jewish and Pagan nations;
- and be as grateful and delightful, beautiful and cheerful,
- as the morning light; and move as swiftly and irresistibly as that,
- and be alike growing and increasing:
The words are a reason of the increasing knowledge of the Lord’s people in those times, because he shall go forth in the ministration of the word like the morning light, which increases more and more till noon; and of the evidence and clearness of it, it being like a morning without clouds; with which agrees the note of Joseph Kimchi,
“we shall know him, and it will be as clear to us as the light of the morning without clouds:”
and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter [and] former rain unto the earth;
In the land of Israel they had usually two rains in a year; the one in autumn, or quickly after the seed was sown; the other in the spring, when the corn was ripe, and harvest near. During these times of rain it is very reviving and refreshing to the earth, such will be the coming of Christ unto his people, in the ministration of the Gospel in the latter days.
Let us now, while there is still daylight, learn to daily acknowledge our guilt and seek His Face, returning to the Lord; that He may heal us; and He will bind us up, He will revive us; He will raise us up, that we may live before Him by serving and Loving Him and others, as well learn to serve and Love ourselves.
Prayer warriors, be in constant prayer and petition before the Lord for all the millions upon millions of spiritually dead individuals and those whom are wicked, evil-doers. Their very souls are in need of spiritual regeneration.
Grace and Peace
Alonzo E. Thornton