His Redeeming Love
Day: 2 | Plan: Prone to Wander
Today's Reading: Hosea 2
Hosea 2:19-20 (ESV) "I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD."
Have you ever loved someone deeply and longed for that person to love you too? But your heartfelt words were met with a cold shoulder. Your generous gifts were re-gifted to someone else. And the commitment you longed for was rejected because they desired someone else.
God asked Hosea to do something that required great love. It also would involve tremendous rejection, heartbreak and sacrifice. This request was probably shocking to Hosea … maybe even repulsive. To marry an adulterous woman and have children with her. To share his body, home, reputation and life with her. All that Hosea had, he shared with Gomer. And she abused his love, then rejected him while running into the arms of many others who cared nothing for her.
God wanted Hosea's marriage story to be a demonstration for the people of Israel. An example of how their adulterous acts of idolatry were corrupting their relationship with Him.
Hosea's love grew for Gomer (despite her rampant unfaithfulness) and it paralleled God's deeply committed love for Israel (despite their destructive sin and pursuit of false gods).
Just as Gomer was undeserving of Hosea's love, Israel was undeserving of Yahweh's love. Just as Hosea was dedicated to his unfaithful bride, God was covenantally committed to His wayward bride, Israel. And God's love never took a back seat to sin or shriveled up in response to a cold shoulder.
Pleas for Israel to repent and turn from their ways were pushed aside. (Hosea 2:2-3) Despite God's generosity and the prosperity Israel was experiencing, they didn't care to know Him or acknowledge the gifts He was giving them. Instead they passed along His gifts as love tokens to the many Baals who captured their fullest attention. (Hosea 2:8)
So God placed walls around His "wife" (Israel) and hedged her in with thorns to keep her from straying. (Hosea 2:6-7) At first this may seem restrictive and forceful, but it's actually redemptive. Because of her inability to proceed in her wanderings, she realizes what she had with her Husband was better and choses to return to Him.
As we read the story of Hosea and Gomer and understand how it parallels God's relationship with Israel, I can't help but think about all the ways God has loved and protected me despite my sinful past and propensity to turn my attention from Him.
Maybe you've experienced a similar turning too. A wandering where we can become so preoccupied with what we think is better, that our love for God begins to grow cold and distant.
Or maybe we find ourselves in a situation where we're facing an invisible wall of resistance. All our efforts are not moving us further along in a certain direction. Could it be that God is placing a hedge of protection to keep us from wandering down a path that isn't intended for us? A path that may look good from our perspective, but one that He knows can lead to hurt, rejection, isolation or even bondage or corruption?
When we keep in mind that everything God does for us is rooted in love, we can trust Him, even when things don't go our way. We begin to realize that in some cases, what first seemed like unfair resistance could be the protective arms of our loving Father keeping us safe and holding us back from what could potentially harm us and alter our relationship with Him.
Prayer: Father, how great is Your redeeming love that rescues and holds me close. Your love far surpasses any other! It outshines and outlasts anything this world offers. Make Your home in my heart today. Let Your Spirit fill all the hollow spaces within me. Help me to be faithful to You. Remind me through Your Word that I am Your beloved, now and forevermore. For nothing is more satisfying and soul-thriving than to love You with all that I am and to receive Your redeeming love. In Jesus' name, amen.
Patiently, God continued to pursue this one-sided relationship by lavishing love and mercy on a... Read More
Download the First 5 app to get the full experience