SOS Hosea

I didn’t want her back.

I was angry and doubly so at the thought that I should have known better.  A leopard doesn’t change its spots.  Why would I expect someone like her to suddenly be faithful because of a promise?  All of her vows were just words and empty air, carrying no weight that would ever make a difference in the heart.  On second thought, I have no doubt that she meant every word she said, just not for very long.  That makes it worse, not better.

She left of her own free will. Let her own the consequences of her mistakes.  Let her new situation take care of her, or leave her to die, I don’t care which.  It will sound funny, but I’ve never been tempted by murder before.  It always seemed so unthinkable and so far away.  But I wanted to hurt the ones who had hurt me.  I wanted them to pay.

I wanted her to pay.

That lasted for a few days, until I remembered God’s word to me.  Our marriage was a picture of God’s relationship with Israel.  Our children were named according to His moving.  I was reminded that my part in our marriage was to love her as best I could.  And while our marriage being healthy and good was dependent on both of us playing our parts well, my love for her was not based on what she did or didn’t do.

I loved her, simply because she was mine.

And my expression of love was not dependent on her response, or faithfulness, or willingness to change or get it right.  My love for her was simply my love for her, seeing the best in her, seeing who she could be.

Don’t misunderstand.  Our marriage was absolutely dependent on her being willing to be married, with all that was involved. You can’t have a marriage with only one person engaged.  But my part of the picture was mine alone… and ultimately that is what God has called me to.

I wondered how God must feel as we are faithless toward Him.  How we are distracted by the whim and pleasure of the moment, forgetting Him completely.  I suddenly experienced a sort of double vision, my anger, disappointment and love juxtaposed with His anger, disappointment and love for her – and for all of Israel.

I felt His disappointment and love even for me.  I wasn’t the man I needed to be either.  It was different in degree, but not in kind.  I was as faithless as she was toward heaven in many cases and I fell to my knees in repentance, asking God to bring me back to Himself.

My anger changed from being angry at her betrayal of me, to being angry at the situation she was now trapped within.  It was a story that cut her off from her true potential: to being beautiful before God and walking in a life of purity and contentment.

The price I paid for her was nothing compared to the price He paid for me.  It was nothing compared to the price He paid for Israel.  It was nothing compared to the price He would be willing to pay to redeem the whole earth back to Himself.  My heart beating faster, I decided it was time to act.

When I finally found her, she was broken.  She was ashamed and had less than nothing.  As I bought her out of the slavery she had sold herself into, the look in her eyes was mixed with fear and sorrow and frustration and disbelief and hope.  She knew that she didn’t deserve a second chance and she wept at the realization that this wasn’t about what she deserved.

It was about what I was willing to give.

My words over her were God’s words and I took my wife home to heal, to rest, to love and to do everything I could to mend the wounds our house had borne.  It was a long path and it took years before we would have a relationship that either one of us would call blessed.  But we will get there.  With God’s help, we will.

In my heart I knew that His will power would be made known and that things would eventually change for the better.  That before I died I would know the love and marriage I longed to possess and be a part of.  I knew that I would be able to say in truth that I wouldn’t trade her for anything.  I knew that I would express my love to her with all of my heart.  I knew that she was faithful and pure, a great mother to our children and a blessing for generations to come.

It cost me everything.  And I would pay that price again without hesitation.

God’s heart to us is the same.  Come back to Him when He calls.

The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress.  Love her, as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.

So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and lethek of barley.  Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.  (The Account of Hosea, 3)

Devotional Thought for the Day

Hosea’s message is not out of date. The loving faithful God of ancient history is the same God today. He has paid a heavy price to redeem us to Him.  Is He asking you to do the same?  Have you been hurt in ministry?  Are you tired of sacrificing time and hard work for people who just don’t care? Exhausted from watching friends and loved ones fall under the yoke sin?  Maybe you’ve even wished God would hurry His judgment on some.  Hosea’s situation was as messy as it gets. The immorality of the people was simply unbelievable. Yet he listened to God and labored unceasingly to help them see that God still loved them and wanted to draw them back to Him.

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