Love is difficult… especially when it’s not reciprocated. It’s even worse when the love you extend is rejected, mocked, even taken advantage of. How do you respond? How far do you extend yourself? How do you hang on to hope that anything can eventually be any different?
As we continue our summer study series in Hosea, strong charges are brought against Israel in the next part of the story (Hosea 4-8). The people are indicted by God through the message of the prophet Hosea as having ignored God’s law, engaged in prostitution with foreign idols, as being unfaithful, without understanding, stubborn, rebellious, and arrogant. What a list! Who could imagine what it would take for God to continuing to love when so much had been done to destroy the covenant relationship that had been established between with the nation of Israel?
What kind of betrayal would it take for you to be pushed completely over the edge to a place where a relationship you have had seems irreconcilable? If anyone ever had reasons to give up, they seem pretty clear in this text as the unrepentant nation stands accused.
One of the most difficult and intriguing parts of this ordeal for Hosea, was that his own story paralleled what was happening with the nation of Israel. He was married to a woman who had so scorned his love for her, that he actually had to go and buy her back from a life of prostitution to which she had turned (see Hosea 3:2). In the midst of a huge amount of betrayal and rejection of the covenant of marriage, Hosea’s love still continued to hope, trust, and redeem. It’s an incredible picture of the heart of God and how far He is willing to go for the people He loves.
Just as Hosea’s own story was a constant reminder for him of how difficult and real this messy business of love and reconciliation really is, our own stories of our sin, rebellion, and even sometimes contempt for God’s love are also constantly in the foreground of our view on this whole situation. On our own, it seems there’s no way back. But God has made a way through Jesus. As we believe, trust and follow him we see how the words of Hosea 6:1-3 can actually be true…
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that cover the earth.”
Today’s Reading: Hosea 4-8
Key Verses: Hosea 4:1,6 Romans 9:25