The Unfaithful Ones, part two

We’re looking at the book of Hosea right now and as we established in part one, it’s a pretty tough book. By asking his servant Hosea to marry a prostitute, God shows that we, His people, treat Him very poorly a lot of times. Even though He’s infinitely loving and good to us, we go off and serve idols and other gods instead of staying true to God. Through this process that plays out in Hosea’s life, he is never at fault, doing nothing but being a loving husband as his wife continually returns to her life of prostitution. In this same manner, God does nothing wrong to deserve the treatment that we give Him as we turn away from Him time and time again. That’s why this next verse that I came across shocked me. Speaking of His wayward bride (us, His people), God says this.

Hosea 2:14 “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.

Wait, what? Read it again. “I will win her back once again.” Something’s wrong with this statement. God’s using the illustration of a husband and a wife to show His relationship with His people, and He’s talking about winning us back. We’re familiar with the sentiment. A husband cheats on his wife, his wife finds out and leaves him, then the husband cries to his buddy and feels terrible about it and says “I’m gonna win her back.” I understand the sentiment, but God seemingly uses it backward here. Because He’s not the one that did anything wrong!

When you study the entire Bible you see a very consistent picture of God. Loving, fair, a champion of the underdog, incredibly patient, faithful, good, merciful, the list could go on for pages.

Malachi 3:6 “I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.

He doesn’t go back and forth. There wasn’t a time when God was bad at loving His people and a time when He was good at it. He stays the same, steadfast and reliable, everlasting love. He never did a thing to drive us away and He never will. God has nothing to apologize for, no guilt to make up for, no bad behavior to apologize for, and yet He says in this verse “I will win her back once again.”  

My mind is blown by this God of mine. He who not only commits no wrong but is wronged and still comes pursuing us and attempts to win us back with love and tenderness. We should be the ones trying to convince Him to take us back, and yet God’s love is so heavy and so massive that it flips things upside down. He will be wronged and still try to win back those who have wronged Him. If your heart wasn’t moved when reading part one of this study I hope that you feel something here in part two. Not only do we mistreat God and take advantage of His loving and faithful nature, but He comes after us and tries to make it right when we do. Lovingly, tenderly, patiently. It is absolutely absurd that God would love us in this manner. The exact moment when He should scream “Good riddance to you, you selfish and unfaithful people!” is the moment when He shows His beautiful heart for reconciliation, His remarkable desire to be with us despite the infinite ways we let Him down.

I want to be sure to show the full picture of the book of Hosea and the character of God, so there’s an important aspect of this to understand. There are consequences to being unfaithful to God. If you study Hosea on your own you’ll see that God uses some very evocative language to illustrate some of the things that will befall Israel for constantly turning away from Him. When you read deeply into what takes place during this time of consequence, it really boils down to losing God’s favor. In part one of this series, I talked about the positive things that have come into my life since I became a true disciple of Jesus. I also listed the negative traits I carried when I was without Him. The thought of going back to being that person terrifies me. If I really dwelled on it, it would keep me up at night. It has been God’s favor and His love for me and His guidance and goodness that has allowed me to take so many huge strides forward in my life. I’ve gone through tough stretches in my faith when I wasn’t as true to Him, when I let myself slip backward a bit, when my gaze and my focus faltered. And guess what? Some of the old Aaron started to creep back in; some of that unrest, some of that emotional instability, some of that depression. Some people might say it’s not fair or not nice of God to let that happen, but I’d contend that it’s silliness to expect His gifts and protections when we’re not actively living as a part of His family. His love for us never falters, but I do see in the lives of others and have lived through times when His hand was not as evident in a life as it once was. The results of that have never been good.

I didn’t really want to take this down a negative path, but it’s important to know that yes, God is everloving and He’s coming after to you no matter what, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences to our actions. If we insist on running away from a loving home where we are fed and clothed and cared for, we just might find ourselves in a harsh world where we are mistreated and have to scratch and claw for every scrap we can get.

BUT.

Hosea 2:14 “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.

The thing about God is that He doesn’t give up. And He is so biased towards mercy. He’s the God of justice and balance, but the Bible also tells me that God doesn’t just love a lot, that He actually IS love. As a society, we’ve given love a lot of meanings, but when you see true love in the world, you see God. I’m not here to debate what “true love” is, but you know it when you feel it, and you know it when you see it. It’s the most powerful force on the planet because it literally is God.

I want to close out today by looking a few verses ahead.

Hosea 2:21-23 “In that day, I will answer,” says the Lord. “I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds. And the sky will answer the earth with rain. 22 Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees. And they in turn will answer, ‘Jezreel’—‘ God plants!’ 23 At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’”

He’s looking to make even His enemies His people. His heart is to one day see those who once denied Him and mistreated Him and were unfaithful to Him become His again. They will be His and He will be theirs, and there is absolutely nothing more beautiful than that.
________________________________

I love you all very much, and that love that I have for you in my heart is nothing compared to the love that God has for you. I hope you’ll stick around as we continue this look through the book of Hosea. If you need prayer for anything or would like to talk about faith and God, I would love to hear from you. Just drop me a line at freejenkins@gmail.com and I will respond as quickly as I possibly can.

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