Do you wonder how God could possibly want to walk your walk with you, be your God and claim you as “His people”? . . . For those who worry that God has a cutoff point or a line beyond which you’d best not cross if you ever want to come back and ask forgiveness, let’s review the life and times of Hosea.
God told his obedient and faithful prophet Hosea to go out and find a wife. God then added the peculiar instruction to Hosea that his wife was to be a prostitute. Hosea found a prostitute named Gomer with whom he fell madly in love, married, and had children. Gomer apparently found her life being a wife and mother stifling; she longed for the old days of excitement and unpredictability. There were no thrills in her present lifestyle so she returned to the old one. Heartbroken, Hosea raised the children and desperately missed his wife.
After a period of time God returned to Hosea with the message to go out in search of Gomer and to bring her home. Hosea found his wife in all her debauchery and brought her back where he continued to love her and tend to her needs.
God uses this peculiar story to illustrate the unfailing love he has for his people. They, like Gomer, had turned their backs on God. They, like Gomer, proved themselves unfaithful to their commitment to God. With indifference and willful intention they resumed their old lifestyle which did not honor God or obey his laws.
Hosea mirrors the constancy of God’s love. He says in Hosea 14:4: “I will heal their backsliding. I will love them freely.” Did Gomer deserve that kind of forgiveness? Do we? God’s love extends beyond the limits of our sinful humanity. He longs to draw us into a state of restoration with himself. However merciful God is he adds this crucial condition to his mercy in Hosea 5:15: “I will return again to my place till they acknowledge their offense.”
Is there then a line beyond which we dare not go because of our sin? Yes there is. The line is a refusal to acknowledge our sin—to confess that sin, to ask forgiveness for that sin. However, once confession occurs so, too, does forgiveness. Isaiah 44:22 states, “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to me for I have redeemed you.”
God’s desire that we return to him, love him, and serve him faithfully has not only the reward of forgiveness, but the mind-boggling assurance that “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be my people.”
Excerpted from Women of Faith® Devotional Bible copyright ©2003 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Published in Nashville, Tennessee by Thomas Nelson. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Can you imagine what it was like to be Hosea? (Or Gomer?)