Daily Bible Reading – Hosea 6-9; Hebrews 3
Today’s Key Passage – Hosea 6:1-7
I grew up in a Christian home. My family and I went to church every week, and if asked I would have called myself a Christian. For the first 34 years of my life though, I had a wrong interpretation of repentance. Though I called myself a Christian, I never actually read the Bible. In my life, I knew that I was sinful. I knew that I did things that were not pleasing to God. At night, I would pray to Him and ask Him to forgive me for my sinfulness. I would list out all of the bad things I had done that day for God and ask Him to forgive each one. The problem was that in all of those years, I never really had any interest in changing my behavior. I viewed God as a “get out of jail free card” in a sense. I desired His forgiveness, His mercy, His blessings for my life, and His promise of salvation, but I did not desire actual change.
Our key passage today begins with Israel’s seeming repentance. We read, “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (Vss. 1-3) Now this all sounds really good. It sounds like Israel is sorry for its sins and it sounds like Israel is ready to turn away from them and back to God. The thing about God, however, is that He knows our hearts. He knew that time and time again Israel called on Him for mercy and for help, but they never actually desired change. God responded to Israel by saying, “Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.” (Vs. 4) God knew that Israel’s claims to want to return to Him were empty. He knew that they were only interested in the material benefits God could provide.
Many people today are still misled about repentance. People believe that as long as they are sorry for what they do, they can continue to live their lives in a sinful way without any consequences. In fact, some churches even preach a message like this to their congregations. They preach a “health and wealth” message of the Gospel because it is popular and it does not require actual change in the hearts of the audience. Sadly, these churches are doing a disservice to the body of Christ because this message is not Biblical. Time and time again in the Bible, God makes Himself perfectly clear. He is not looking for us to simply desire forgiveness. He is not looking for us to simply desire His mercy. God is looking for genuine repentance. He wants us to turn completely away from sin and turn completely toward Him. He wants us to give up our lives of sin and replace them with lives focused on God. Asking for forgiveness without asking God to change you is like a person calling himself a Christian without ever reading the Bible. It is an empty gesture, and it is not what God wants for us. Genuine repentance is a not a fleeting feeling of remorse over a sinful act. Genuine repentance is a lifetime commitment to stop walking in the ways of evil and instead walk in the ways of God. Anything less is like a morning mist. Anything less is like the early dew that disappears. Love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and turn completely toward Him with everything in your life.
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.