Why am I amazed every single time that God reveals Himself. I mean, He does it so often, you would think I would begin to expect it. Yet, I am always surprised. Consider this.
Way back in November, my Wednesday morning Bible Study battalion started discussing what we would study next. Several studies were suggested, so we considered each of them as we made our decision. Right before Thanksgiving we decided to study Jennifer Rothschild’s Hosea: Unfailing Love Changes Everything. Well, that was November, and then Christmas happened, and I forgot all about what we would be studying.
God took me on a journey through December that landed me in January, longing to turn back to my good practices of Bible study, prayer, and blogging (read my post ‘Turn at any Time’). In fact, this idea of turning starting churning around in my head last January when a couple of friends and I were meeting once a week for what I’ll call ‘prayer talking’. Each of us was embracing the idea of repenting, or turning. We were deciding together that we had been walking the wrong way and that we were willing to turn around and walk back toward God.
Actually, I just took a scroll through my previous blog posts and saw that like the thread of ‘healing’ that I mentioned yesterday, there is also a thread of repenting — of turning. Perhaps you, like me, find yourself learning the same lessons over and over again. Learning and forgetting. Straying and turning.
So, when I joined the battalion this morning to start our study, the one that we chose last November, I could hardly keep myself from gasping when our leader paraphrased Hosea 11:7: My people are bent on turning away from Me. Yes, Lord, I am! I am bent on it! And you see it! You’re speaking to that tendency in me!
God used Hosea to speak to this tendency that is common to humans. He knows us! He knew that we would take his love for granted, that we would wander to look at any little shiny thing that caught our eyes. He knew that when we did this we would feel guilty, helpless, unloveable and beyond hope. So, He gave us Hosea.
Hosea was a man of God, who sought out Gomer, a prostitute, and continued to love her despite her unfaithfulness. This, my friends, is a picture of God’s covenant relationship with us. God, who is God, seeks out unfaithful humans and continues to love us! He keeps both sides of the covenant!
Hosea is a love story, friends. It’s a tale of the unconditional love of God for His people. A love that pursues the wanderer. The kind of love that steps into squalor to find us. It’s a story of God’s love that is bent on turning away from anger in order to save us. A love that welcomes us back and embraces us.
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled…
return to the Lord…
I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them…
They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
they shall flourish like grain.
Hosea 14, selected verses
Now, come on, why wouldn’t we want to return?