March 5, 2017
READ: Hosea 2:1-20
I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion (v.19).
“Actually, I’m divorced.” My friend’s eyes fell as he spoke. This was not something he enjoyed telling others. “I’m not sure what happened. We were both wrong. It all just fell apart.” As our conversation continued, he shared that his wife’s departure had crushed him.
It’s strange to think about, but God knows how a jilted lover feels. He has been one Himself.
The prophet Hosea spoke on behalf of God to Israel during a critical moment in their history (Hosea 1:1). It was a time of affluence and idol worship, leading up to the Assyrian exile (2:8-9,11).
During those tumultuous days, God referred to Israel as a wife who had left Him for prostitution (2:2). The people of Israel infuriated Him with their idol worship. “ ‘I will punish her for all those times when she burned incense to her images of Baal, when she put on her earrings and jewels and went out to look for her lovers but forgot all about me,’ says the Lord” (v.13).
By God’s grace, not everyone will experience the pain of divorce as my friend has. But in different ways, everyone knows what it feels like to be rejected by someone we care for. A boyfriend or girlfriend moves on, a spouse flirts with someone else at a party or someone else you love fails you somehow. In these moments we can find solace in knowing that God understands exactly how we feel. We can also be comforted that God shows grace even to wayward lovers. He said to Israel, “I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion” (v.19).
If you feel the pain of lost love, turn to God for comfort. And if you’ve turned away from Him, return and experience His loving embrace (Psalm 86:15; Romans 8:37-39).
365-day plan: Joshua 23:1-16
Read Deuteronomy 10:12-19 and consider how God desired for His people to love Him and others.
What painful relationships do you need to bring to God so that you can experience His comfort and presence? How can you demonstrate your love for God today?