Sometime between 755-725 BC Hosea told northern Israel that if they were to return to God that
two basic things would be seen in their lives to indicate their conversion was sincere:
1) Their treatment of people
2) Their attitude towards God
This is similar to Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:37-39 which identify the two greatest commands:
1) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul and with all your mind.”
2) “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus applied these guidelines to test to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:19-22. The young man had dedicated his entire life to God and had expressed his extreme love for God from his youth by faultlessly obeying the commandments of God. But, when Jesus asked him to show the same extreme dedication to the second of the “greatest commands” the rich young man staggered.
The young man could not show the same extreme love for people as he had to God. He could not make a similar commitment to men by giving all his possessions to the poor. Repentance is a two side coin, or a double edged sword, according to Hosea and Jesus.
Hosea describes a true return to God as:
1) treating others in LOVE and JUSTICE – notice both love and justice are required. There is never a time that one of these can properly exist perfectly without the balance of the other. Love can simply be described as selflessness, and justice is basically fair consequences for behaviors, words and attitudes.
2) trusting God by continually waiting for him to manifest – a key word is “always” (NIV) or “continually (ESV, NAS) to describe “wait for your God.” “Continually waiting on God” means to do so in every situation and to not be trusting in yourself or any other identity/system/philosophy.
It needs to be noted that during the time of Hosea, sometime between 750-686 BC, Micah also picks up on these two great commandments with these very similar words in Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God
Hosea 12:6 is immediately followed by ten verses which once again disclose the intense level
of northern Israel’s apostasy. These social evils towards men along with faithless towards God
violates both of the two great commandments and indicates how far away Israel actually was from showing the signs of repentance that God demands. In Hosea 12:7-13:2 God accuses Israel of:
Boasting in wealth
Hiding sin with wealth
Being a wicked people
Being a worthless people
Contempt for God
Kissing the Calf Idol