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Hosea 5:14-6:3 – The Lion who tears the prey and Resurrection on the Third Day

Hosea has many descriptions of judgment. In 5:14-15 God compares himself to a lion and Israel is the prey. What happens? The lion tears at the prey and then carries off the body to its lair where it is devoured – the prey is dead, and none can rescue it. This is Israel’s story until they repent and seek the LORD

In 6:1-2 we are told the words that express repentance and seeking the LORD. Several things can be observed.

1. Returning to the LORD is returning to the one who has torn and struck them down. He is the only sovereign. Judgment comes from his hand but so also healing. Faith brings us to the one who disciplines us for our sins that he may heal us.

2. It is said that after two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.

Israel has been torn by a lion, its dead body dragged and devoured in a lion’s den – Israel is dead! The only hope for Israel then is a resurrection – and that is what the above words call for.

One recalls that Jesus said he would be raised on the third day “according to the Scriptures”. This is the only place in the Old Testament where resurrection is connected to a “third day”. How does this verse about dead Israel being raised on the third day relate to Jesus’ resurrection on the third day?

In the Old Testament God chose Israel to be his people. Israel sinned and so God’s purposes became focused on a faithful remnant but by the end of the Old Testament story even that faithful remnant had failed. In the New Testament Jesus is viewed as Israel-reduced-to-one faithful person. (Think about Jesus being brought out of Egypt, 40 days in the wilderness, crossing the Jordan etc.). When Jesus dies on the cross, he takes the lion-like judgment of God upon himself on our behalf. On the third day Israel-reduced-to-one is raised on the third day according to Hosea 6.

Finally the application occurs in 6:3: “Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” In knowing the LORD – an intimate relational and covenantal knowing – there is life. Showers and rain for Old Testament Israel meant flocks and crops, the things necessary for life! Through the resurrection on the third day, people who would otherwise be torn by a lion, live in an abundance of life (showers and rain).