Hosea 2013: Day

He knows what’s coming

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Today's Text: Hosea 3, Romans 5:8

Hosea 3, Romans 5:8

God never said the right thing would be the easy thing.

It’s not always easy to get our quiet time in with the Lord each morning when we could really use an extra hour of sleep.

It’s not always easy for us to respond with grace when the lady in front of us in the express lane has exactly 37 items (yes, we counted) and has swiped her credit card with the magnetic strip pointing out six times (admittedly, also counted).

It’s most definitely not easy to forgive (and even harder to love) someone who has betrayed our trust and hurt us deeply. I can only imagine what Hosea must have been thinking when God commanded him to not just let his adulterous wife back in his life, but to actually go get her and love her again.  But God doesn’t just command Hosea, He encourages him with an “if I can do it, you can do it too.”

“Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” (Hosea 3:1, NIV)

He’s been in Hosea’s shoes.  He’s loved the unloveable.  He’s loved those who have abandoned him.  He’s loved those that worship and give their best to the things of this world.

God never said the right thing would be the easy thing.

The Israelites didn’t get off scot free for their sins, and neither do we.  We feel the consequences, the emptiness and the futility of living without a King.  And while He’ll have grace for us as we struggle to lie in the beds we’ve made, it’s out of His deep love for us, that He won’t let himself take away the punishment.

And despite all of our transgressions, He loves us anyway.  And He knows what is coming.

It’s hard to fathom how He does it.  It’s hard to understand why.

We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. (Romans 5:8, MSG)

God never said the right thing would be the easy thing.

Yet He asks us to do it anyway, He promises to redeem us, and He loves us all the while.

 

  • When I saw there was a bible study on Hosea, I was so excited because it is my favorite story in the Bible. The way Hosea never gives up on his wife and continues to go back for her even when she betrays him over and over is amazing. It is just a beautiful picture of how Christ loves us. Even when we forget Him, refuse to stand up for Him, and allow people to bash His name, He still welcomes us with loving and open arms and shows us grace. We don't deserve this kind of love but He pours it on us each and everyday! This passage today convicted me because I realized I have been holding a grudge towards someone that hurt me a year ago. It would be easy to keep those hard feelings in my heart but then I'm reminded of Christ's love for us. I have decided to give it up to God and forgive this person. It is such a freeing feeling and I'm so thankful that I chose this bible study so that God could show me the things in my life that do not look like Him. Thank you for sharing this with us! I can't wait to see what God is going to do in my life and the lives of you all!

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  • I have been rediscovering over the past 3 days of this study of Hosea how merciful our God is and how desperately I need Him. I have been praying this prayer as it helps me to focus on God. "Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen." Episcopal Book of Common Prayer

    • Carolynmimi

      Haley, I love that prayer. It reaches to the heart of the matter. Thank you for sharing.

  • LaurenC_

    Today's devotion hit me right between the eyes. For months now I have felt a pull from God, heard Him calling me to forgive others simply because He has forgiven me. I've accepted that and tried my best to do that, as hard as it has been. I know it's the right thing to do, God's will, but I've asked Him many times – "Are you really sure, God? I mean, you know what she said, right? You know what he did, right? You know what he DIDN'T do, right? Are you sure ____ deserves this?" I knew God's answer to all of these questions was yes, and I assumed He had His reasons that aren't for me to understand. Flash forward to today's devotion and the sentence: "It’s most definitely not easy to forgive (and even harder to love) someone who has betrayed our trust and hurt us deeply." I've heard, read, and said a variation of this sentence for a long time now but today… I see myself in it. I have betrayed God. I have hurt Him deeply. I have been the unlovable one, in every sense of the word. I feel the distress of my own betrayal of God's trust in me and I feel the pain of how I have hurt Him deeply. God bought me back through the blood of Jesus Christ. Instead of giving me what I deserve, He gave it to Jesus. I'll never possess that perfect love, grace, and forgiveness that God created; but it's my duty as a Christian, as a human being, to offer as much love, grace, and forgiveness as I can – no matter the circumstances and no matter how "hard" it feels. God knows hard. Sending your perfect son to die on the cross is hard but God did it anyway. For me. An unlovable sinner who was of no use to Him whatsoever. I am grateful, I am humbled, and I am empowered to try to be of use to Him now. One step at a time, trying again every day. Praise be to God.

    • Carolynmimi

      It is so hard, but so right and so Christ like. But Hard! Praying for you, Lauren. Keep desiring to forgive..you are making progress.

  • Hello Everyone,

    This is a profound & uplifting video…be blessed!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dY4sppiKug&sns=em

  • Hosea doesn’t just “go get her” he BUYS her back. He uses his money, his harvest, to buy back an adulteress wife who doesn’t appreciate him or the things he has done for her.

    “For you have been bought with a price, therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Cor 6:20

  • Do you notice when Hosea takes her back he tells her basically, you must live here with me, you may not prostitue yourself and you will not have sex with anyone- not even me.

    Gomer was filling an emptiness in her life with sex that she was in control of. Hosea not only told he she couldn't do that with random people anymore, but that she couldn't do it with HIM either, for a season. He was making her feel the pain of life in hopes that she would come back to him in desire of TRUE intimacy.

    God wants this for us. Food is my prostitution. I eat when I hurt, I'm bored or I'm overwhelmed. It numbs the pain of life. But it's impossible to numb pain without numbing hope and joy as well. When I fast (as opposed to just dieting), I get VERY uncomfortable and I face demons in my own life I've been numbing with food for so long. Im much more aware of my need for the Lord when i cant have the only thing i turn to in my emptiness. God wants those areas in our lives so we too can have true intimacy with him.

    … That was what really struck me today.

  • The Lord has been teaching me a lot through these SRT mornings. It's been happening in tangible and experiential ways too. There are no coincidences here. In fact, I think it's mathematically improbable how almost always–even while meditating on the day's reading–some person, event, thought or feeling will show up that either challenges me, or confirms in me the teaching of the morning, down to the tee.

    This morning has been no different. While attempting to write a comment here, I have been communicating with my brother who is so heartbroken over his spouse who has again relapsed on drugs. He has gotten advice from people (some of them family) to leave her and never look back. This is what he writes to me today (sharing with permission):

    "I believe [staying and supporting her] is her only true way out of addiction. I feel it deep in my heart that this is God's work! Working through me. Like, as much as I wanted to throw her out, there was this voice in my head (God) that said, 'wait a minute […] she hasn't tried me yet, so show her ME first before you walk away.'"

    Isn't that just the kind of love our Father has on us? He shows us how faithful He is, in middle of our unfaithfulness. When we look for other things to ease the pain and suffering we feel on the inside, He stands firmly by our side and doesn't give up on us. Some of us are blessed to have people to model what the love of God looks like in everyday practical ways. But many of us don't, and we must ask the Holy Spirit to show us. He asks us to love in the same way He does. World changing stuff!

    "But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favors so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked." Luke 6:35 (AMP)

    • Carolynmimi

      Praying for your brother and his wife.

    • LaurenC_

      What a beautiful post, JuneBug. I’ll be praying for you, your brother, & his wife.

    • rocknitat55

      JuneBug, I have been where you are but it was my brother. Educated,christian, kind, and addicted to drugs.
      The journey is to long to document but i can tell u that even when he went to jail I never stop believing, not so much in him, but in the word of God. The seed of the righteous shall be delivered! I don't care what it looked like. I prayed, fasted, stood, cried and started all over again. Everyone even family members gave up, told me to give up. I did not.
      Today my brother has been clean for 10 years. He shares the word of God with the hopeless and on many occassions is an encouragement to me.
      Continue to stand for them both and see the salvation of the Lord!

  • "Love her as the Lord loves." Despite flaws, mistakes, wrongs and hurts. I really needed this redemption today. The Lord is so good and His love is unconditional. We can never acquit ourselves from our sin, only God can redeem us and renew us, even though we will never deserve it. So incredible.

  • rocknitat55

    I know that God is up to something in my life. Nothing just happens. I’m sure it is not by chance that we are on Hosea.

    It’s most definitely not easy to forgive (and even harder to love) someone who has betrayed our trust and hurt us deeply. I can imagine what Hosea must have been thinking when he was asked to do the unthinkable.

    Last night I found myself in the midst of betrayal. At my church. I didn’t see it coming. I was so hurt that I had to pull over because I was crying so hard The pain is so unbearable I can hardly breath. I haven’t slept and right now its like a fist is in my chest.

    I know that I have to pray for this person and i did, out of obedience.

    But it has not changed the way I feel.

    Sisters, I come today soliciting prayers and any word.

    I’m a mess, I am hurt, angry, but then conflicted because I know better.

    I know what God expects of me!

    Lord, on this Faithful Friday I can do nothing without you.

    • Candacejo

      So sorry Nita that you have been hurt by your brothers and sisters at the very place where you should find peace, refuge and safety. It is definitely difficult to pray for those who "despitefully use you" as the Bible says in Matthew 5:44. Easier said than done but if you don't "let it go" you risk bitterness taking hold and that root is ugly, it goes deep, grabs a strong hold and is hard to dig out!

      Forgiveness is more for you than it is for the one that has offended. I posted on my blog "Seventy Times Seven" just a few days ago, I think it might help you today. http://hopeinthehealing.com/2013/04/18/seventy-ti

      "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord." The best revenge IS forgiveness. I am praying for you today that you can give this to God and let Him carry it, it is too big for you! He doesn't want you to be burdened with it!

      Much love to you friend, you will get through this if you don't react hastily, go to prayer, give it to The Lord and let Him handle it.

    • Brandi

      Praying that the Father would surround you with His grace and love and peace today!

    • anngoerz

      Hi Nita,

      First, I am so sorry for your hurt. God cares for your hurting heart and so do we. I also want to say that it is ok to feel angry and upset. It's ok for sin to make us angry, for the brokenness of our world to burden our hearts and for betrayal to burn a fire in our hearts. God gets angry at sin too. BUT once you feel it, hand it up. Then again, and again and again. Forgiving someone doesn't make what they did ok with you, it makes it God's problem instead of yours and it enables you to show grace to someone who doesn't deserve it- just like God does for us.

      Lots of love and hugs and prayers for you!!

      • rocknitat55

        Thank u for your words of encouragement and wisdom.
        I think that I was more disappointment n me because I was sooo angry.
        I receive your prospective, I am giving this to God for he sees everything and knows how to handle it.

    • Carolynmimi

      These replies from Candacejo, Brandi, and Anngoerz mirror so much of what I would offer in comment and prayers for you. I will say this as a pastor's wife, the greatest and most deeply wounding assaults in my husband's and my life have come from the folks in the pews. And yet, the greatest and most rewarding friendships and blessings have come from the folks in the pews…and sometimes the same people. We have also found when ministering to people who have left the church at some point and are exploring faith again that the root cause of their departure involved betrayal or condemnation from Christians.

      When this first happened, I was blindsided as you mention you were. For a long time I chose to hold that hurt close and nurse it. That was a killer. Finally, through my husband's witness, his ability to forgive, intense bible study and prayer, God made it clear to me that to not forgive fellow Christians was sin..He had forgiven them, my husband had forgiven them, now it was my turn to release the hurt and open myself up again. I did and I wish I could tell you it never happened again. BUT, it has..different folks, even different pews, and somehow I rarely see it coming.

      Forgiveness comes though but not without prayer, my own and trusted others'. I also pray that God control my thoughts, tongue, and actions lest I become the one who inflicts harm on a fellow believer.

      Rocknita, I am praying for you and for the one(s) who have caused you pain.

      • rocknitat55

        oh Carolyn how did God know that your testimony would offer freedom to me today. Because we are in leadership, we so often hold our tongue, keep things inside. Your testimony has allowed me to see that forgiveness is a process and not a one time thing. thank u

    • LaurenC_

      Sister, I have been there and I am sorry you are there now. Blindsided, sucker-punched, gasping for breath, sobbing and pained to the core. I admire you for praying for that person, because it took me a while to be able to pray for the person who betrayed me. You say your prayers have not changed the way you feel and I would like to quietly add a "yet" to that statement. Just hold on. Hold tight to the Lord. Be still and let Him fight for you. Let your soul rise above this. Your posts here at SRT are so inspiring to me (and I'm sure to many other readers) and so I know you are leaning hard on God. This too shall pass.

    • claire

      I am sure it is not coincide that I read this blog post this week specifically about being hurt in church- I think it was for you http://www.justfollowingjesus.com/2013/04/when-youve-been-hurt-by-churchand-why.html?m=1

  • Carolynmimi

    But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NET)

    This chapter in Hosea poses a challenge that is a lifetime commitment lived out in daily renewal of the vow and actions of love.  God demonstrates that to each of us. Yes, He did it once for all on the Cross, but He continues to do it day after day.

    He hugs me when I am a stiff jointed, unhuggable mass of rebellion.  He lets me cry out my frustrations and heartaches even when I am angry with Him and then dries my tears.  Nothing I do surprises Him, like Jesusgirl said, " He's not sitting there saying, "Oh man! I can't believe she did that! Just threw me for a loop!" he knew we would. yet He still loves us."  Everyday, grimy, hungry, thirsty He waits to clean me up and feed me.  

    From before I was born He loved me and for those struggling with making a commitment to Jesus, God does not love Christians anymore than He does unbelievers.  Christ loves indiscriminately…He died for all. 
    With such love as His, how could Hosea or how could I not extend that love, that bread and wine to my husband, children, siblings, friends,  the world…unlovable and unrepentant  as they can be at times.

    Someone once told me that being a Christian witness was "one begger telling another begger where to find bread."  I would add that that like the feeding of the 5000, there is plenty of bread for all.  Offering the betrayer a place at His table demonstrates our understanding of our own betrayals and the magnitude of forgiveness we find in Christ.

  • Elizabeth

    jesusgirl71, I like how you said it – that He's not thrown for a loop by anything. It makes it even harder to fathom His love for us, but all the more awesome at the same time.

  • I'm sure Jesus knows the meaning of "the right thing isn't always easy." We all know, especially after the wonderful Holy Week devotionals here on SRT. He did it, because God the Father ASKED Him to….because he LOVES us! That still blows my mind at least once a week ever since it hit me during the Holy Week devotionals. The perfect obedience of Jesus.

    But today I am just so filled with awe and wonder towards God who bought back his prostitute wife from the world and brought her back home with Him.

  • Candacejo

    "And while He’ll have grace for us as we struggle to lie in the beds we’ve made, it’s out of His deep love for us, that He won’t let himself take away the punishment." Fighting back the tears as I read this!

    Just as the writer said, there are consequences for our sins, and yet there is grace and mercy waiting for us, but I have never seen such love for us as I have this morning in this sentence.

    It's out of His DEEP LOVE FOR US that He won't take away the PUNISHMENT! Maybe it's just me but what love the Father has for us that He wouldn't just forgive, He doesn't just forget, but He TEACHES, He LOVES, He MENTORS.

    He will do anything He can to keep us from making that same mistake again! He never said the right thing would be easy. Yet He asks us to do it anyway…that is LOVE!

  • He is so good and so merciful. I’ve been Gomer many times. Heck I bet we all have. Yets he loves us fully and also can supernaturally give us the mercy to love. I know this to be a fact. And the world doesn’t understand.

  • I can't imagine Hosea having to pay to get his wife back! How that must have felt, yet he trusted in God knowing "his ways are THE way"! I only wonder….could I be that strong and forgiving? I hope so and continue to learn and grow in my trust of him. Is that aweful? He sacrificed his own son to show his love for me/us!
    I pray for the kind of faith Hosea had and thank Jesus for his sacrifice and love.

  • Thank you for this study and for this community. I love engaging with Christian women.

    There was a time in my life that life got in the way and I wasn't spending time in the Word or even praying. I started to feel like "Is this all there is to life?" Then as I was thinking about this I felt the Lord impressed on me that I hadn't spent time with Him for several days. The first thing I do each morning before I get my day started I spend some quiet time with Him. When I do this my day does go much better, I'm more tolerant and less anxious.

    So I guess that's what God means when he says that you will be without a king for some time.

    Blessings to all

  • How what perfect love!!!! Is God saying to us this is how I want you to love? Lord I pray you will pour your Agape Love in me that I can love like you love. The word says let the mind that is in Jesus Christ be also in us. That means the Character of God, allowing the fruit of the spirit to be manifest in all situation. Wonderful study. Thank you Lord for speaking to me. Amen

  • I am so grateful that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than ours. Yes, it is better to fall into the hands of God, who is angry with us, than in the hands of man.

    COMPASSION…Jesus lived and breathed it. It is what we all need more of; everyone deserves what we all have received…A SECOND CHANCE. It is so easy to extend the gift after a moment of self-examination…BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD…there go I!

    Thankful today that I serve a PERFECT GOD…so I don’t have to BUT I only have to strive to be more like Him. Sisters let’s give each other a break. Let’s think on the good things. Let’s sow what we desire to reap. LET’S LOVE!

  • Bridgette

    “…The Lord still loves Israel.”

    Lately, I’ve been caught up in the day-to-day stuff and I’ve been putting off time with God. I’ve felt the distance and honestly I hated it. I couldn’t understand. I was still reading my devotional and my Bible but He was still so far away. Then it was like God was hitting me square in the face as I’m reading Psalm 81 yesterday “O Israel, if you would only listen to me!”

    I stopped. Was God speaking to me through this verse? “O Bridgette, if you only would listen to me!”

    Then I read this morning in Hosea 3:1 “…the Lord still loves Israel.”

    The Lord still loves me!

    Even though I have just been checking Him off my list instead of actually engaging with Him. How sweet and beautiful His mercy and love are.

    • rocknitat55

      Yep Bridgette the Lord wants us to be wowd by him. Not to treat him like an item on an to do list.
      I think thats why I try to find different ways to spend time . Its so easy to get in a routine
      I found this out when I first became ill and could't make church. I found out that its wasn't as much
      wan't to be in his presence on sunday mornings as I was bored and that time I been reserved for church everyyyy sunday

      But as you said thank God for his Grace and mercy. He loves me still!

    • claire

      I felt exactly the same recently and realised whilst I was doing srt and blogging and writing my reflections I wasn’t stopping to pray. It hit me in the midst of the prayer series! Sometimes God just needs us to stop and wait on him. Lift our hearts to hear his voice in the quiet. Praying for you x

      • Ellen MR

        Same thing happened to me Claire! Just doing it to get it done and telling myself "I'll just pray later, when I have more time" etc. Until 3 days went by and I was feeling really…yucky! Back on track now and feeling so much better! Blessings to you! :)

  • jesusgirl71

    Yes, it is something I am working on as well, loving the unloveable.

    what really amazes me here, god knows wha'ts coming. He is not disappointed by our sins or what we will do today or tomorrow. He's not sitting there saying, "Oh man! I can't believe she did that! Just threw me for a loop!" he knew we would. yet He still loves us.

  • Good morning sisters and happy Friday!

    "And despite all our transgressions, He loves us anyways"…

    Made me think of the beautiful David Crowder bands song, "How He Loves Us"…

    Aways brings me to tears listening to the words of this song. Oh, how he loves us! The enormity of His love, we can't even begin to fathom!

    If you get a chance, listen to this song. I posted the link below ( or at least I think I did…haven't done this before =) )
    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=TWgeUrD4MHI&de

    • scripturesque

      I just read your comment and this morning I posted a video that I made for How He Loves. I totally saw the parallels between Hosea and this song and I wrote a blog post about this. Wow! How cool is that?

      http://scripturesquegraphics.com/

      I hope you like it

      • Margie

        Scripturesque,
        I just watched it he video this morning (Sat.) i loved this video!! Thanks so much for sharing it! Very cool!

        • scripturesque

          Thanks. Making worship graphics and video is a huge part of my worship. Have a super weekend. Much Grace

    • rocknitat55

      lovely song

  • This has been my motto and prayer for when I started a new year in second grade this year! Lord help me Love the Unloveable! I have to almost pray it daily! It's not easy, but I know some come from broken homes and they Need LOVE! AND He loved me at my worst!

  • love the unlovable. hard. messy… but He encourages us with an 'if I can do it, you can to". amen

  • Wow! Exactly what God has been convicting me of, especially before I went to bed last night. Love the unlovable. Love endureth forever. We are to love as Christ loves us…that means even the unlovable. Endurance is defined as power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. Hosea was able to only do it with the power of God. Out flesh is to weak to do it on our own. Praise God for his Holy Spirit within us to do all things.

  • AmyKelly213

    "God never said the right thing would be the easy thing. Yet He asks us to do it anyway, He promises to redeem us, and He loves us all the while."
    So well said. I am very thankful for this study… And that it is delving so deep into the scripture. It is not an easy read, truthfully. Without the devotion content, I think I would be floundering. But I love, love, LOVE IT!

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