6:1 “Come, let us return [indicates true repentance; involved change of attitudes and a turning away from false gods and sinful ways] to the LORD. He has torn [done by God in love; done redemptively and with the hope that they would recognize and turn from their sinful ways] us to pieces [like a devouring lion (cf. 5:14); describes the damage caused by their sins] but he will heal [restoration to God’s favor and blessings; forgiveness] us; he has injured [see comment on “torn”] us but he will bind up our wounds.
6:2 After two days [figure for a short period of time] he will revive [to bring to life] us; on the third day [figure for a short period of time] he will restore [to raise up; to establish] us, that [result of restoration] we may live in his presence.
6:3 Let us acknowledge [to know Him personally (requires personal fellowship with God)] the LORD; let us press on [determination; overcome obstacles that kept them from God] to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises [and chases away the night], he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
6:4 “What can I do with you, Ephraim [Israel; Northern Kingdom; worshiped image of golden calf]? What can I do with you, Judah [Southern Kingdom]? Your love [word for covenant loyalty; refers to highest and best of which people are capable] is like the morning mist [love for and commitment to God was shallow, temporary, meaningless], like the early dew that disappears [“mist” and “dew” without substance or the ability to last].
6:5 Therefore [because they failed to respond to God’s tender invitation (6:1-3); introduces steps taken by God to turn people back to covenant loyalty] I cut [“cut to fashion” refers to punitive and redemptive judgments] you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words [sharp and painful] of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning [brilliant, illuminating, penetrating] upon you.
6:6 For [instead of the insincere and hypocritical worship they offered the Lord] I desire mercy [same word as love in 6:4], not sacrifice [“sacrifice” and “burnt offerings” not ends in themselves], and acknowledgment of God [to know Him personally] rather than burnt offerings.
Practical Consideration: Shallow repentance does not result in deep changes.
Israel’s shallow repentance did not result in deep changes. Israel was only interested in repentance that would remove the inconvenience of judgment in order to return to the sins that had led to judgment. God is not impressed with our words or our sacrifices. He is interested in our hearts and the sincerity of our repentance. True repentance leads to deep changes in the lives of people.