“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods.'”
Tomorrow morning I am delivering a testimony at my church of how God honored the fast I committed to at the beginning of the year, which is fitting given that today is the last day of the fast I did this month. Once delivered, I’ll post it on here for you all as well. It focuses on the unfailing love of God, on His consistent seeking after me regardless of my apathy or antipathy towards Him, which is consistent with the book of Hosea.
Hosea was a prophet during a time when Israel was wholly caught up in the worship of false gods. They had entered into commerce and political dealings with other nations, intermarrying with their people and adopting their traditions. The whole nation had become a whore. They claimed that their “lovers”, or the tradesmen’s money, had given them their gifts of ripe vineyards and fruitful harvests. They used the gifts of gold and silver that God had given them through the conquering of nations in the days of Moses, Joshua, and Caleb had come from the people with whom they were now fraternizing, and using these things to worship worthless idols. They were sleeping with temple prostitutes and shedding blood through child sacrifices and anger. God now had cause to label His beloved people a prostitute. So He instructed His prophet Hosea to marry an actual prostitute named Gomer, one whom he knew would be unfaithful to him, whom he knew would bear children by other men. He was instructed not only to marry her, but also to forgive her sins against him and to raise her children as if they were his own.
How often have we behaved like Gomer in our walk with God? How often have we left a beautiful Sunday worship service and then walked right out the door and reverted to our “natural” selves? How often have we credited God’s gifts to our own prowess or someone else’s deigning generosity? And how often does God take us back? Every. Single. Time. Jesus was once asked “How often must I forgive my neighbor? Seven times?” Jesus replied, “Seventy times seven” (let’s see… seven times… carry the one… it’s… well I’m not a math person, but it’s a lot). God instructs us not to put our forgiveness into a box because He does not do so with us.
I’m going to end this post with a list of selected verses where we, the Church, are referred to as the Beloved of the Lord. I encourage you to go through and read each one. Pick one or two that stand out to you and write them down. Bookmark them in your Bible. Carry them in your pocket and read them throughout the week. Meditate on them and on how God wants them to become a part of your life. Write them on the tablet of your heart and work them out in your life. Because, after all, that’s what we’re here for right?
Deuteronomy 33:12 Romans 1:7 Romans 9:25 2 Corinthians 7:1
2 Thessalonians 2:13 Colossians 3:12-17 Ephesians 1:5-6