Hear this, O priests!
Pay attention, O house of Israel!
Give ear, O house of the king!
For the judgment is for you;
for you have been a snare at Mizpah
and a net spread upon Tabor.
And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter,
but I will discipline all of them.
I know Ephraim,
and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
Israel is defiled.
Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
and they know not the LORD.
The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt;
Judah also shall stumble with them.
With their flocks and herds they shall go
to seek the LORD,
but they will not find him;
he has withdrawn from them.
They have dealt faithlessly with the LORD;
for they have borne alien children.
Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.
Blow the horn in Gibeah,
the trumpet in Ramah.
Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;
we follow you, O Benjamin!
Ephraim shall become a desolation
in the day of punishment;
among the tribes of Israel
I make known what is sure.
The princes of Judah have become
like those who move the landmark;
upon them I will pour out
my wrath like water.
Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
because he was determined to go after filth.
But I am like a moth to Ephraim,
and like dry rot to the house of Judah.
When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his wound,
then Ephraim went to Assyria,
and sent to the great king.
But he is not able to cure you
or heal your wound.
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear and go away;
I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
I will return again to my place,
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
and in their distress earnestly seek me.
“Come, let us return to the LORD;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, 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 out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes early away.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
and my judgment goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;
there they dealt faithlessly with me.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
tracked with blood.
As robbers lie in wait for a man,
so the priests band together;
they murder on the way to Shechem;
they commit villainy.
In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
Ephraim's whoredom is there; Israel is defiled.
For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed.
(Hosea 5-6 ESV)
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD!
I will keep your statutes.
I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O LORD, according to your justice give me life.
They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
But you are near, O LORD,
and all your commandments are true.
Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.
Look on my affliction and deliver me,
for I do not forget your law.
Plead my cause and redeem me;
give me life according to your promise!
Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek your statutes.
Great is your mercy, O LORD;
give me life according to your rules.
Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
but I do not swerve from your testimonies.
I look at the faithless with disgust,
because they do not keep your commands.
Consider how I love your precepts!
Give me life according to your steadfast love.
The sum of your word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
Sin and Shin
Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
I hope for your salvation, O LORD,
and I do your commandments.
My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.
Let my cry come before you, O LORD;
give me understanding according to your word!
Let my plea come before you;
deliver me according to your word.
My lips will pour forth praise,
for you teach me your statutes.
My tongue will sing of your word,
for all your commandments are right.
Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O LORD,
and your law is my delight.
Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.
(Psalm 119:145-176 ESV)
Our Heart's Desire
Psalm 119 tells us that the Word of God is our heart’s desire. Our Lord once said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed because they are the one’s who will discover true satisfaction (Matthew 5). Our hearts are born hungry, but it is man’s most notorious error to feed that hunger with food that simply doesn’t satisfy. Those who long for God’s salvation and those who delight in His Word are those who are given a great peace that prevents them from stumbling.
If we are honest with ourselves, what would we identify as the one thing in life that we would need the most in order to be satisfied and perfectly content? If we were given this 'one thing', would we not then find ourselves under a great burden to make sure we keep it?
How many of us simply find the psalmist’s delight in the Word of God as distant and foreign to our own personal experience? Can you say that you find the Word of God as “sweeter than honey” and more worthy of your love than “fine gold”? How many of us, if we’re honest, have not tasted the sweet satisfaction of God’s Word simply because we’ve failed to feast on the truths we find in there?
Many of us fail to find God's Word satisfying simply because we have failed to truly taste and see how good His Word really is. We will never fall in love with something we do not know. And we will never truly know something that we do not passionately pursue.
The psalmist describes the way in which he wakes up with God’s Word on his heart and mind just as many of us wake up with an immediate craving for that morning’s first cup of coffee. Such a wholehearted desire for the things of God is only developed when we truly taste and finally see that God’s life-giving Word is the only thing that truly satisfies.