Thursday, May 14, 2009

His Boundless Love

I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds.
Hosea 14:4

If you've ever had to listen to a knock-down, drag-out marital fight through thin apartment walls, then you've got the sense of the Old Testament book of Hosea. It's painful to read. And it is truly shocking. What is this doing in the Bible? God commanding one of his prophets to set up house with a whore?

Yet in this moving story that is precisely what God told Hosea to do; marry the town prostitute. And why? "This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me"(1:2). Devotion (or lack of it) is the dominant theme throughout this book: faithfulness on God's part, faithlessness on the part of his people.

With Israel already under Assyrian occupation for chasing after other gods, God pleaded with Judah to avoid a similar fate. He declared Israel "is no longer my wife, and I no longer her husband" (2:1). Yet, almost in the same breath, he said mournfully: "I will win her back once again. I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there" (2:14). It is a wonderful window into God's heart - a breathtaking glimpse of his incredible, never-ending love for his unfaithful people.

In the time of Hosea, Judah's idolatry was sapping her strength and causing her to behave like "silly, witless doves" (7:11). The people were continuing to come to the Temple to worship, but it was all a sham (8:12). Filled with anger, God knew he must punish his beloved, but wounded to the core of his being, he cried, "How can I destroy you...? My heart is torn within me" (11:8).

In a stunning picture of redemption, Hosea brought back his wife, exhorting the nation to see the larger truth behind his own odd, sad story: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God...Say to him, 'Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise'" (14:1-2).

Taken from Integrity's iWorship Daily Devotional Bible


As I read this teaching this morning, I had several thoughts.

1.) Man! I need to read the rest of this Hosea!
2.) I see that this applies to infidelity. And the most touching part of it is that God is calling out to them, even as they drift further from him and choose sin and their own way.
3.) Ouch! This applies to me now in this moment. (Not in terms of infidelity - but does that make me any better? No.) I am coasting on my own laurels, showing up to 'temple', doing outward things that are correct, however NOT seeking the Lord. NOT reading His Word. But doing things MY way. Idolatry? You bet. Do I love 'singing to the Lord' over 'getting to know Him better'? It would seem so.
4.) How touching that even when I am skipping through my life, avoiding being close to my God, He is yet there, yearning for me and waiting.

Off to read more of Hosea!!






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6 comments:

Becky said...

Beautiful.

MyShilohRanch said...

I SO hear you on this my friend!!!

My recent measure of manna studies, from Exodus 20:1-6, touched on idolatry issues; alas, they hit a little too close to home for me too! It is amazing how the enemy can so lull us into a false sense of "ok-ness!"

When we spend time with the Lord, personally, He sets us straight on those issues "toot suite" (tuit sweet? you know what I mean)

This promise is BEAUTIFUL ... I will hold onto this one, esp when the enemy tries to turn conviction into guilt!

"I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds."
Hosea 14:4

Oh yes, Sing4Joy, He loves us SO much!!! Loving Him back is what it is all about!

Thanks for magnifying this Scripture! XO XO XO

Red Lipstick Princess said...

I love Hosea! When I say that people look at me like a crawfish has just crawled out of my ears. I mean, who the heck reads any of the minor prophets? Well, I do! First, because I feel sorry for them because they are largely neglected. Second, because they are a quick read. You can read a few chapters in about 20 minutes. Perfect short devo time. Thanks for reminding me how much I love this book AND finding the jewels i Hosea!

His Girl said...

astounding.

Gretchen said...

So good. So true. I've been falling short on doing my Bible studies this week. Thank you for the gentle nudge I prayed for to return my heart to its rightful place.

Jenster said...

Kind of saps the judgment of others right out of me. As harsh as the book of Hosea is, it's also so beautiful just to see how much God loves us.