As one reads through Hosea, particularly chapter 7, it is amazing the number of metaphors God uses to show Israel’s perfidy. They were separated from their God and Protector through their own actions. God hadn’t gone anywhere, Israel had. They needed to repent and turn to Him.
However there is turning and there is turning. God was angry that Israel turned to idols. They turned to Egypt. They turned to Assyria. They turned to themselves, in their own beds crying and wailing. (“They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds”; Hosea 7:14) They turned a lot. They didn’t turn the right way.
They turn, but not upward, (Hosea 7:16a)
Judas turned. In the KJV of Matthew 27:3 it says, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,”
Did Judas repent? No. He turned, he felt grief, he refused to look at his sin… but he didn’t turn upward.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary says there are several words for repent used in the bible. In the case of Judas the verb is “metamelomai is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).
The other word for repentance according to Easton’s is “Metanoeo, meaning to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun metanoia, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.”
In Judas’ case, his turning was not upward.
In your grief over sin, in your restlessness in finding peace, in your agitation, turn, not from one worldly thing to another, but upward!
The lessons of Hosea 7 are many. One is, that God is looking down upon His elect. He is looking. Look upward! See Him! Our holy Savior as High Priest is looking at us, loving us, calling to us to repent. Repentance is a matter of turning, but turning in the right direction, and it is having a right heart condition. Judas’ heart wasn’t right. Ephraim’s heart wasn’t right. They cried but it wasn’t from the heart. Judas cried, but it wasn’t from the heart. If you cry over your sins, is it from the heart? If you turn from your sin, is it in the right direction? We have learned that a horizontal turning is not the right direction because the only thing in our horizontal field of vision is the world. The world doesn’t forgive. God in heaven forgives. Upward is the right direction and having the right heart attitude is important too.
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9).