Hosea 14:4 I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.
The prophet Hosea lived a tragic life. He fell in love and married a woman called Gomer. She was a prostitute and throughout his married life, Hosea had to buy back Gomer from her life on the streets and in the slave market. She broke his heart again and again, but because Hosea was a faithful servant of God, he forgave her time after time, lover after lover, and sin after sin.
Hosea must have questioned his own loyalty to Gomer and to God. He must have been deeply saddened and shamed by her actions. His soul would have been in anguish and his mind must have been constantly unsettled, but he still plodded on faithfully, serving God by looking after his uncontrollable wife. Hosea had the grounds for a religious divorce, but he didn’t want to leave Gomer destitute and cast aside.
The prophet knew that the day would come when Gomer’s reckless living would destroy her beauty, her strength, and her attractiveness. One by one, her lovers abandoned her and she was left lonely and bitter, isolated and vulnerable. When all seemed lost and hopeless to the wretched woman, Hosea found Gomer and brought her back into his home. He forgave all of the hurts, insults, wounds, and shame that she had caused him. He looked after her for the rest of her life. Hosea remained faithful because he knew that God did the same for His people.
Over the years, I have seen some marriages wrecked because of the selfishness of a wayward partner. His or her self-centered ways have permanently ruined what was once a loving relationship. But I have also seen the forgiveness of faithful partners save a marriage and even strengthen the covenant between them. It reminds me that hopelessness can be overcome by faithfulness and that even the most serious covenantal breach can be healed.
This is how God’s works amongst us. He remains faithful to the last and will not leave us without an opportunity to be reconciled to Him through Jesus. We may wander and drift far away from God, but Christ’s Cross can lead us back again to God’s grace and love. We only have to turn, reach out, and take His nail pierced hand.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes we let ourselves grow distant from You. We serve our own needs and fulfill our own desires. We wander from the truth and even wonder if You are real. Help us today to turn back to You and let us re-experience Your love and grace. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.