God’s had me meditating on various parts of Hosea for several weeks and He even had me read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers again, which is an allegory of Hosea. This is a compilation of a number of thoughts on this topic.
Yesterday, the Lord chastened me 3 times throughout the day on the same topic… my lessened intimacy with Him. He did it so gently and in love that it broke my heart as I could feel how my choices hurt Him. I couldn’t help but realize that it was back to Hosea again – Him lavishing me with ardent love while I have philandered. God forgive me… and of course, He has.
And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” – Hosea 1:9
Throughout the Old Testament, God’s constant desire is that He would be our God and we would be His people. If you thought of the relationship in terms of an engagement, this is Him breaking it off. My heart hurts reading this because I can’t begin to fathom how much we had to hurt His heart to get Him to this point… and yet, He still hadn’t given up on us.
Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. – Hosea 2:6
Still in His hurt from our betrayal, our jealous, ardent Lover seeks to keep us from our own poor choices that wound both Him and ourselves. He is nudging us towards the right choice – towards Him (Hosea 2:7b).
Even in our unfaithfulness, His heart of love remains true as He provides without our even knowing or acknowledging (Hosea 2:8).
Love & Praise in the Desert
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth… – Hosea 2:14-15
This verse is where I’ve been living for the last two years. He’s wooed us (Allen and I) into this desert season – and yet even here He has shown Himself faithful and true… and been constant even in the face of our inconsistency. He truly is making the valley of trouble (Achor) a door of hope.
In v15 the word “answer” actually implies praise. We will respond with praise as He speaks tenderly to us in the desert… this is Him drawing us all the nearer. Beautiful. His heart is beautiful.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge… – Hosea 4:6a
The first portion of this is heavily quoted but rarely paired with the root of the issue, we have REJECTED knowledge. The original Hebrew word implies knowledge of God. In essence, we’re rejecting Him, knowing Him, and without Him we perish.
Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not the LORD. – Hosea 5:4
There are things we can be doing in our life that literally make a relationship with God impossible. Are we willing to look truthfully at our activities and assess if they’re hindering a relationship with God? And if we will assess them, will we be willing to make choices to give them up — or will we keep playing the harlot to feed our flesh and satisfy our lusts?
Come and let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us; He has stricken so that He may bind us up…He will raise us up that we may live before Him.
Yes, let us know (recognize, be acquainted with, and understand) Him; let us be zealous to know the Lord [to appreciate, give heed to, and cherish Him]. His going forth is prepared and certain as the dawn, and He will come to us as the [heavy] rain, as the latter rain that waters the earth. – Hosea 6:1-3 AMP
Like setting a bone, He’s wounding us for our own good. In His love He’s still fighting for us – to rightly align us with Him.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice… – Hosea 6:6
I once heard John Bevere share a story on this that drove this point home for me. He was watching his favorite team on TV in a big game. There was 5 minutes left and he heard God asking him to go talk with Him. He said he’d give Him 4 hours later if He could just watch the end of the game, which he proceeded to do.
Afterward, he prayed for 4 hours and couldn’t feel or hear the Lord at all. Finally after begging and beseeching, God explained why — He wanted his obedience, not his sacrifice. Love obeys. Works try to sacrifice in lieu of obedience. Relationship is about love.
…besides Me there is no savior. – Hosea 13:4b
There’s only one savior. We cannot save ourselves. Our money, our good works – nothing can save us but Him. We need to stop running and be swept up into the love affair He’s offering, “accept what is good” (Hosea 14:2).
He desires we “dwell beneath His shadow” (Hosea 14:7) — close and intimate. Tender love.
Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way. – Hosea 14:9 NLT 1997
Lord, help us to walk Your paths. Hedge us in. Keep us aligned with You. Be our God and let us be Your people. Thank You for Your mercy and Your steadfast love — it is a gift beyond comprehension!