Today’s Reading: Hosea 2
As a parent, why do you (or did you) punish your kids when they disobey / make choices they know are wrong? You do it to help them see the error of their ways and turn back to what is right. You do it because you, as their parent, generally know what is best for them more than they do. Punishment isn’t enjoyable for either the kid or the parent, but we know it leads to a better result long-term.
B.J. introduced us to Hosea yesterday. God asked his prophet Hosea to do something completely absurd, something that seemed contrary to God’s design for marriages, when he asked him to marry a prostitute that both God and Hosea knew would be unfaithful. Part of God’s plan was to use the lives of Hosea and Gomer to illustrate the relationship between the Israelites and God. The Israelites, like Gomer, had been unfaithful. They had turned away from God and were worshipping pagan (false) gods.
Hosea chapter 2, our text for today, has two distinct themes – punishment and restoration. The first half of the chapter outlines how God was going to punish his people for worshipping false Gods.
- I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst (Hosea 2:3).
- I will not show my love to her children… (Hosea 2:4).
- Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way (Hosea 2:6).
- Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her naked body (Hosea 2:9).
- So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands (Hosea 2:10).
- I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals (Hosea 2:11).
- I will ruin her vines and her fig trees…I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them (Hosea 2:12).
Just like a parent, God’s punishment was purposeful. It was designed to help the Israelites see the error of their ways and turn back to God. As their “parent”, God knew what was best for the Israelites more than they knew what was best for themselves.
The second half of Hosea 2 is focused on restoration. How God would restore his relationship with the Israelites when they turned back to him. See, despite their unfaithfulness, God was still faithful. The Israelites turned their back on God, but he refused to give up on them.
Here is the good news. None of us are perfect. We all make choices we wish we wouldn’t have made. And, none of us like punishment. But our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Just like he was faithful to the Israelites, he will be faithful to us.
As you find yourself in negative circumstances, consider whether God might be using challenging times to turn you back to him. In the end, he knows what is best for us even more than we do. Will you trust him?
I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God’ (Hosea 2:23).