01/05/15 – 371
There’s a lot more to the book of Hosea than there is to his personal story. In fact, beyond the first 3 chapters the text doesn’t tell us anything more about Gomer’s journey of reconciliation. Much of the remaining 11 chapters is an extended narrative/sermon about Israel’s stubborn resistance to God, their refusal to give up their adulterous and sinful lifestyles. But it does end the way the story usually ends, with a remnant of the faithful being saved as a chance for the rebirth and restoration of the people.
This is another analogy that carries over to us as individuals also. When we talk about dying to self, being born again and all that – this is exactly what we’re talking about. We simply can’t remain the same old people we always were and hope to change a little here and there to become what God intended us to be. We are way too impure, far too contaminated by sin for that.
Our only hope is that we let every part of ourselves that has been given over to sin die, and the remnant that remains be reborn and restored as God intended. This may mean old relationships have to be broken off – permanently. It may mean that otherwise innocent pastimes that you enjoyed may have to become nothing more than memories because of their association with sinful things. (Example: I enjoy a certain type of music, but it brings back memories and feelings I only had when I hung out at the bar and drank and . . ..)
Better to find another kind of music that doesn’t carry that meaning for you. Remember, it takes repentance to complete your restoration, and that means change. The last chapter of Hosea, though is one of the most beautiful promises of hope and love that God has ever given us. The translators call it ‘Repentance to Bring Blessing’
Hosea 14: 1Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall!
2 Take words with you and return to the Lord.
Say to him “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
3 Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
4 “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots;
6 his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
7 People will dwell again in his shade; they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like the vine—
Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me.”
9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.
As we finish the story of Hosea today, let’s pray that God would help us to complete whatever we need to make a complete restoration within ourselves, so that we, like the Israelites, may rise from that remnant as a brand new person, pure, committed and wholly pleasing to Him.