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.
4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
5 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.
6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.
8 Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.
9 And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.
10 I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
11 Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people.
“If anyone was offended, I am sorry.” How many times have we heard those forms of non-apology apologies? The offensive thing about that kind of apology is that it never expresses remorse; it only brushes over the hurt feelings of the other individual and assumes the restoration of the relationship with its attendant benefits.
In this chapter, the Israelites are expressing this form of inauthentic repentance. Capitalizing on the divine attributes of mercy, grace, and forgiveness, they hurry towards God. They are not remorseful about their sins, rather they are focused on the benefits of such a return, namely, cessation of calamities and resumption of blessings.
God, however, sees right through their feigned repentance and counsels them that “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 NLT
In what ways have you offered forms of non-apology apologies to God? Are you focused on what you can get from God (rewards) or what you can avoid (punishments) instead of an abiding deep relationship with Him? Are you willing to ask for genuine repentance from God (Romans 2:4)?
Pastor, Allegheny East Conference, USA