ODJ: clean start

July 5, 2014 

READ: Hosea 2:11-23 

I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there (v.14).

For many years my wife and I put off doing some major remodelling to our home. Finally, the carpeting that was more than 35 years old and the kitchen cabinet doors that were falling apart caught up with us. So this year we employed operation clean start! It was out with the old and in with the new as the main floor of our home received an extreme makeover. Now that the process of restoration is nearly finished, it’s amazing to see and experience the difference!
When Hosea was selected by God as a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel, His people desperately needed a fresh start. Much like Hosea’s wife had been to the prophet (Hosea 1:2), God’s people had been adulterous to Him—mixing the worship of God with that of Baal (2:11-13). So God used words like “destroy” and “punish” to let His people know that their plight was due to their disobedience (vv.12-13).

God said that they “forgot all about me” (v.13). And their disobedience brought about His discipline through destruction at the hands of the Assyrians.

Sometimes you and I can turn from God and His ways—finding new “lovers” in the stuff this world has to offer (v.13). When this happens, God’s loving discipline will come (Hebrews 12:6), something that’s “always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness” (v.10).

Then, if we turn to Him, He will once again wrap us in His “unfailing love and compassion” (Hosea 2:19). For it isn’t His delight to punish us, but to see us freed from the bondage of sin and to hear from our lips, “You are our God!” (v.23). He says, “I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the LORD” (v.20).

God can give us a clean start! —Tom Felten

365-day plan› Luke 7:1-17

Read Psalm 51:1-10 for a prayer that reflects true repentance before God. 
What idols or “lovers” (Hosea 2:13) have you been following instead of God? How can your relationship with Him be renewed and restored today?