As Fleeting As the Dew
The break-up. The make-up. Enough already.
Hosea 6:4 begins:
“What shall I do with you?”
YHWH God is talking now. We should hear it the way italics force a font. An updated Jewish expression that captures the tongue and tone might be “Oy-veh!” It is the exhausted notion that they’re coming around…again.
My Grandma used to say “Oh my land.” I’ve often used the phrase “Good night,” and I don’t mean sleep tight.
Indeed, God is as sure as the dawn, from verse 3, considered previously. He is faithful and true. His love is never failing; always there when our eyes open to a new day.
We, on the other hand? We are like the dew, also there in the morning, but fickle and fading as the morning hour’s wane. Halfway through verse 4:
“Your love is like a morning cloud…”
Imagine the “morning cloud,” the fog that socks in the harbor and slows down the suburban commute. Then in the squint of an eye, the heat of the dawning sun scatters the moist air.
“…[Your love is] like the dew that goes early away.”
Day long the dawned sun remains. The dew, however, retreats. Such is our love. Here this morning, back there this afternoon. Thus verse 6; the key verse of the entire book of Hosea:
“For I desire steadfast love, and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Though graciously stated, I don’t think it’s gently spoken. I think it’s a rebuke of sorts for the ones he called out of the midnight into the dawn. It’s a heavy toned word for the many among the few who think merely their returning is somehow repentance enough; their corporate lip-service and recitation of remorse will suffice for reentry.
Our gifts, or offerings, of sorrow or regret – excuses and promises, selling off the old Sunday habits to get to church more, the awkward dinner prayers, the token morning devotions – what do they really mean to God…or us? What would He rather notice in us?
How about a love that has some staying power; that’s going to be around awhile and more, and grows and deepens with each passing day? And how about a knowledge of Him that is sound and rooted and rich and meaningful and is born out of continual communion together with Him?
I think Peter had these sacred passages in mind when he wrote in his second letter to not get caught up in the errors of lawless folks. But rather, grow in the grace – which in Hebrew is hesed, or steadfast love – and knowledge of Jesus. Forget about all the “doings” that might seem to appeal to YHWH God, and instead begin “being.” That’s a firmly impressed statement of God’s will for us.
But we, like Adam, our progenitor and perpetrator, we sin. We commit the most heinous stuff. How shall we, who are like early morning dew, ever pretend to return to the God who loves us as the dawn?