Hosea 2013: Day

He heals us and he loves us

by

Today's Text: Hosea 14, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Hosea 14, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

It hasn’t been any easy journey through the book of Hosea, has it?  There have been hard words to hear, hard sins to face, hard discipline to bear.

As strange as it sounds, it reminds me of our church choir.

On a recent Sunday, our choir sang an arrangement of “The Lord of the Dance” that had everyone squirming in seats.  Throughout the hymn, the key shifts from major to minor without explanation, the tempo slows, then speeds up erratically.  The end result is a song that truly is hard on the ears.  “But they would not dance, they would not follow me,” the Lord laments in the lyrics, adding to the misery.

And yet, in this discomfort there is beauty.  And the beauty is in the return.

Eventually the key returns to major.  The tempo returns to something we can stomach.  And in the closing line, the Lord returns, singing, “I am the life that’ll never, never die, I’ll live in you if you live in me.”

Hosea 14 reveals how we too can find the beauty in the discomfort of being faced with our idolatry, our sin, the emptiness of living without a King, and ultimately our punishment and destruction.

Return.

Seek His forgiveness and grace.

Find His compassion. (Hosea 14: 1-3, NIV)

Return.

The Lord says, “I will heal their waywardness, and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” (Hosea 14:4, NIV)

And the doorway to that return is death.  We are redeemed through the death of His son, who bore that anger for us, and ultimately through the death of who we were before the key change.  “The new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cornithians 5:17, NIV)

Please know, friends, you can return.  No matter what you’ve done, no matter how off-key you’ve been, no matter how much your tune has had you squirming in your seat, it’s never too late in the song to return to Him.

He’s waiting to heal us, to redeem us, to love us.

And the beauty is in the return.

 

  • Bridgette

    This has been an emotional journey but so very thankful for it and for all of you!!!

  • Tina blankson

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Can i breathe now. Oh my goodness! What a read! I.ve been following quietly in my corner. . Afraid to breathe. . It has been like watching a film of badNess, of sin, of faithfulness. . And on matter how the hero tried to who through just was falling on dead ears. . .
    Thank you SRT for the encouragement each day to read the devotion. . I have been on the edge of my seat for the past. 16 days. .
    I have struggled with the old testament as i.ve mentioned before, this one on different, but hanging in there with you guys, reading and taking on board you comments has me realising and understanding Our God of the old testament a lot more. So thank you so very much for the roller coaster ride through Hosea, i.o definitely a better person for it. But most importantly my walk with the Lord is changed too. He loves me good bad and the ugly bits of me…me! Thank you Lord God for the open arms, for patiently waiting for me, for forgiving me even before i have asked. For forgiveness. Lord guide me to return to you each day…
    Looking forward to Nehemiah .
    Thank you again for your time SRT for your time and support of each other. What a wonderful community of women. I have loved hanging out with you…..even if i have been silent. God bless each and every one of you… Live from

  • This last day brought me to tears. Tears of joy and incredulity, that despite my selfishness in hanging onto pain, anger, bitterness and unbelief, my Father has continued to pursue me and receives me with open, loving arms. He will be my 'dew' and make me blossom like a lily. He will give me new life and use me inspite of it all. This is so overwhelming for me and exciting to know all that god wants and desires for us even when we have been in the muck!

    Thanks for this study. It is my first SRT study to join and i will defintely be hanging around for the next one!

  • Michelle

    Confession time – I have never disciplined myself enough to finish a She Reads Truth study – until now. When I saw the new plan was on Hosea I thought I would continue to let other things prevent me from making my quiet time a priority. Let me just say that it would be an understatement to tell you how much Hosea and this plan has changed me and my relationship with Christ. Thank you for what you do for all of us – through Christ you are making a tremendous difference in our lives. I can't wait to see what you are bringing us next!

    • Peggy

      Praise God, Michelle! Way to go! Congrats and keep on pressing on and drawing closer!

  • Oh WOW what beautiful responses all the way through that I forgot what I wanted to say after my reading! (sigh) except how grateful I am for the RETURN through His aMazing Grace, love and forgiveness.

    These are great studies SRT! God spoke to me last year to read Nehemiah followed by this one Hosea (though I had read them periodically throughout my life, never did I focus on studying them) and I never clearly understood why God laid those two on my heart last year until after reading through this again with you all, the wonderful devotionals and discussion/comments. WOW! I was looking on the external parts last year and this time God internalized it. I no longer looked at Gomer and Hosea's relationship or even Israel's failings but my own. That is exactly what God wanted from me last year!

    I love how this community shares the Word and encouragement with one another. The honest questions that were answered lovingly and clearly! Beautiful … simply beautiful. I enjoyed the discussion of the song "Lord of the Dance" also. I could not remember it until Junebug said Irish tempo…so I went to YouTube to listen and I listened to an actual Irish group and watched another with a dance! Definitely Irish! (haha) I had to laugh being a 1/4 Irish and loving to dance before the Lord! I now remembered it from childhood also like this… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fzRZuGEr04 Your church would have had a hoopla if they had this version by The Dubliners and Jim McCaan. Praise God for the delight in the dance as He leads!!!

    So now since I totally forgot by original thoughts and veered off on another tangent, I too just would like to thank SRT and this community of sisters for sharing together in this study! Looking forward to Nehemiah and sure hope I can join in (but know that I will be reading it again with you all, if I'm not able to be here) and praying that the Holy Spirit reveal God's Truth once again.

    Oh, and my lost frame of thought had to do with the RETURN which stood out to me and the well answered question of our past, present and future sin being under the blood of the Lamb! Read some really GREAT answers so I guess that was enough, no use belaboring the point. I struggle(d) with stuff in my past frequently throughout my more than 50 yrs. in my walk with the Lord, my very poor choices and now really poor habits that I am working on breaking, or "tearing down the walls" (like Nehemiah, searching for God's light and truth and so amazed at how Jesus redeems me and sets me free, covers me and allows me to grow in Him. My life is a continual rebuilding, breaking down strongholds and footholds and plunging forward in my deliverance from my old ways to His ways, a new way, a new creature blooming and developing, ready to soar and get beyond the past to our freedom in Christ.
    Let's walk in our freedom that Jesus Christ assured for us! Let's rejoice in the Lord of the dance! Let's continue to be molded by Our Master potter and allow His grace to keep us from our past, true repentance asks this of us, and releases us to be more in His image!!! I know I'm imperfect! But so thankful that each day, each year I am given to walk intentionally with God and follow His purpose closer and more intimately, He raises me out of that muck and mire, the sackcloth, the old nature, the past, the grave and because of His grace and sacrifice, I will be completely healed and redeemed, ready for His return. As He waits for my return, I wait for His!!!

    Yes, JuneBug *exhale* …how sweet His embrace!
    Yes, Elizabeth, what a beautiful ending to an ugly story!
    Yes, Canda (Nanette) … what a great response and explanation! Binding that enemy of lies, and releasing Jesus' peace and truth, forgiveness and mercy! Redemption is ours in salvation! Great points!
    Amen! Allsion!!! Not following others or the norm. Repentance does need to follow confession!
    Yes, Carolyn and Sarah! Amen! "To return and keep our relationship growing with Christ requires daily inventory." … and "…acknowledge my sin. He's not throwing it in my face, nor does He want me to dwell on my mistakes or beat myself up over and over again, but in living for Him each day, I'm acknowledging that sin, because I'm rejecting it. I'm choosing Him."

    WOW! everyone… this really completes Hosea (ending so well said by Sarah) "And the beauty is in the return"
    "He’s waiting to heal us, to redeem us, to love us."

    Amen and Hallelujah! Let's GO NEHEMIAH!!! thanks SRT sisters in Christ and community growing in Jesus' image! Press on!

    Peace in Christ,
    Peggy

    .

    • Carolynmimi

      Peggy, What a blessing you are to me and this community! I am so glad to know that another person is a random thinker like me. I so often have exactly what I am going to write and them POW! I start reading all the great comments and I am off in this direction or that, but somehow, at the end, most of the time, it all seems to dovetail together….Gotta be The Lord! Blessings on you and yours!

  • Ellen MR

    JuneBug I love what you said:”How sweet it is to let the Father embrace us when we return to Him! And how well He nurses us back to wholeness in His gentle-loving way.”
    Perfect!
    I was feeling a lil banged up and returning to His open arms and being nursed back to wholeness is exactly how I’m feeling, what I want right now!
    Awesome!! :)

  • Ellen MR

    Whew! Deep breath, exhale!
    I have to say this has been a ride! It was really time appropriate for me as I’ve really been attacked lately over the guilt and shame I carry around and Satan gas been having a field day with it and REALLY getting to me! Then reading this “heavy” book and the seemingly hopelessness of it just got to me…but I kept going and by reading the devo and all your comments kept that spark of hope going in me! I have had breakthroughs like never before in my understanding of God, I clung to Him in real fear going thru this…. Just like Israel!! WOW!!
    Candacejo’s blog on forgiving yourself was key to bringing me thru my muck. Your comments helped me draw those parallels between myself and Israel. It’s been a rough ride, but I wouldn’t have learned what I have without it! And might I say, the relief of today’s reading, that I can return and He is there with open arms, is immense!! ;)
    Ladies, as always it has been a pleasure to experience this study with all of you! Thanks for your prayers when I wailed out for them- they ALWAYS make a difference!! I’m looking forward to our next study too.
    Prayers for everyone’s health and happiness today and everyday, and I count myself blessed to have all of you as Sisters in Christ !
    :)

  • Madeline C.

    This study has definitely reminded me so much of God’s grace. It was hard for me to stay focused for much of this devotional, but now I’m intentional, and I’ve been loving it.

    My church is actually doing a long study on Nehemiah right now! I’m excited for this next devotional!

  • Return. *exhale* How sweet it is to let the Father embrace us when we return to Him! And how well He nurses us back to wholeness in His gentle-loving way.

    And Sarah, I remember Lord of the Dance song from when I was a wee little. It was more of a fast-tempo-Irish-lilt style from what I remembered, so I looked it up and found an arrangement that describes the tempo and key changes you mentioned. I have to thank you because it was a GREAT way to start my day! The line,“I am the life that’ll never, never die, I’ll live in you if you live in me” struck me too. Wow!

    Looking forward to studying Nehemiah with all of you beautiful ladies! Many blessings to you today!

    • Carolynmimi

      Where did you find that arrangement of "Lord of the Dance"? Thanks, JuneBug.

      • JuneBug

        I googled it. Lol! I'm a bit of a music "nerd" and a sucker for good arrangements. The version that Sarah mentioned seemed so interesting so I spent some time on YouTube to find the right one. I'm glad I did! The vocals are amazing and really moved me today.
        It looks like my link I posted to the song got deleted. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to publish it. If you want to look it up on YouTube, it's an acapella version performed by the group LordSong. Hope that's okay for me to post.

    • Peggy

      Thanks for sharing this! So sweet! (see my comment to you, near the end too)!

      I delighted in the song and what you shared also cuz it is Irish! In fact, I spent and hour and a half watching a video on the "Lord of the Dance" Irish dance. I like this stanza especially the second line:
      I danced on a Friday when the world turned black
      It's hard to dance with the devil on your back
      They buried my body, they thought I was gone
      But I am the dance, and the dance goes on
      http://celtic-lyrics.com/lyrics/309.html

    • Sarah

      I'm impressed you looked up the arrangement! Pretty grisly, eh? But as you said, it gently returns to wholeness in His gentle-loving way. May you see His goodness in the rest of this day!

      • JuneBug

        Yes, so beautiful. I couldn't resist! The way you described the song seemed so interesting, I had to hear it for myself.

  • I thank God for his grace and mercy he take my mess and turn it into a message as far as the east is from the west so he has removed my transgression what a loving God he is. (Lamentations 3:22 NLT) The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.

  • Elizabeth

    I have to echo Allison – I liked this more than I thought I would at times. It was difficult to read how awful Israel was because I WAS Israel. But if God forgave Israel, then I know surely He forgives me.

    Hayley, like Candacejo said, the enemy DEFINITELY loves to throw our past at us. I know. I would recommend checking out the link she posted (and the rest of her blog for that matter). It really helped me.

    And of course what everyone else said, and what I have said before – sometimes my clarity comes through our discussion OF the devotional, especially when we're talking Old Testament.

    This was a beautiful end to a seemingly ugly story at first – it shows me that God really can make something beautiful out of what we have turned ugly. Thank God for that. I can't wait to see what's next.

  • Candacejo

    Hayley, you are forgiven of your past if you have repented of your sins. The Bible says He remembers them no more! That doesn't give us free license to sin in the future of course, we still must come before the throne if we fall or fail Him….and we will. But as we have seen in these studies, He is waiting for us with open arms!

    The enemy loves to beat us up over our past…he is a liar, he has no future so he wants you to think you don't either! I wrote an article on this very subject on my blog a couple of weeks ago that obviously is a struggle for so many of us. and it was for me too at a certain point in my life! The devil was tormenting me over my past….reminding me every day that I had sinned, couldn't possibly be forgiven again, be taken back AGAIN, etc., kept binging everythung back up over and over. I finally learned how to bind him in Jesus' name and loose the peace of God into my life again! You don't have to live in fear or carry guilt with you. I hope the article helps you today, just click on the link. We will all be praying for you today!

    http://69.195.124.107/~hopeint7/?s=If+god+forgive

  • My favorite verse today was "the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them!" So often I find myself following the ways of my friends, my coworkers, my husband and while they may not be totally "wrong," they are not "right, as in the ways of the Lord." It is so easy to go along with the crowd or the conversation even though in my heart I know it is not right, but this verse is so true when it says you will stumble in them. How often do I feel guilt, shame, or anger when I realize that I have been following the ways of someone other than God? That path is not easy…I will stumble. This devotional was so simple yet so true….return. Return to Him. Confess. Walk in the righteous path.

    I've enjoyed this study so much more than I thought I would (Old Testament scares me sometimes) and I've learned so much! Thank you SRT for opening my eyes =)

    • Catie

      Allison, I am the same way. It is so easy to fall into the trap of following what others around you are doing but then you realize ir is not for God. I have been struggling with this recently as I find myself doing the same things over and over again. I pray that each of us can follow our own beliefs and seek God during those times. Thank you for opening my eyes to that scripture and a deaper meaning!

  • Carolynmimi

    Thank you SRT for this marvelous community, the scripture, the devotions, and most of all the bringing together all of us. I like Jesusgirl find the comments, the transparency, the new directions on the scripture enlightening and deepen my understanding. The prayer requests touch me so deeply that I find myself writing out my prayers, because that seems to give them substance and helps me to remember to continue to pray.

    Where do we go from Here??? Already looking forward to it.

    • Sarah

      We too, as writers, were amazed by what the Lord had for us in this study! How blessed we are as a community to have walked through His truth in this "hard" book together. Nehemiah is next, and I have to tell you, it also surprised me and ended up being one of my favorite studies to date. Excited to "build the wall" with you ladies!

      • Diana

        Hi Sarah, my pastor often quotes Nehemiah and the building of the wall. That we all have a part. That we are many members but one body. Looking forward to the study.

  • jesusgirl71

    god, there are tims I look to Asyria, as it were, times I put things above god. lord, I want my heart's desire to be for You alone! o Lord, thank you for accepting me and allowing me to return over and over again! what an aswesome study this has been! thanks to everyone for your comments. Sometimes, i find the comments even more enlightening than the devotion, though by no means am I saying the devotions aren't good in and of themselves, but so many of the comments shed light on it!

  • Or Is the confession we’re talking about on a daily basis now that we are a Christian and have been for 20 years? As you can tell I deal with guilt over the past.

    • Candacejo

      Hayley, sorry I didn't put my response in the reply box! Eeeeek! But I did reply a few spaces down, :)

  • I have a question. Are we to try and remember all the sin before we were saved and seek forgiveness? Do we pray and ask God to reveal it all to us so we can confess? Or was it all taken care of when we were saved and all the old is gone? He now sees us as new and he doesn’t remember that sin?

    • Carolynmimi

      Hayley, My understanding, and I by no means have all the answers, is that when we are saved, God forgives all our sin, past, present and future. The purpose of seeking to have our sin revealed to us is to clear out the rubble that takes US, not HIM, away from our relationship. To return and keep our relationship growing with Christ requires daily inventory.

      • jesusgirl71

        I love this explanation. It really was revealing to me today. it's all forgiven, but we need to clear out the rubble! How cool!

    • Sarah

      I believe that our sin is taken and washed away with the blood of Christ, but in remembering and honoring His sacrifice, I can't help but acknowledge my sin. He's not throwing it in my face, nor does He want me to dwell on my mistakes or beat myself up over and over again, but in living for Him each day, I'm acknowledging that sin, because I'm rejecting it. I'm choosing Him.

  • I will echoe Stephanie.. not only after all Israel did to God, but what i have done, and continue to do, and how He accepts me right back.. waiting with open arms. waiting for my return to Him. I am so grateful for His redemption, grace + forgiveness. and for His unfailing LOVE. Great study. Thank you SRT sisters :)

  • This has truly been a hard book to study. I have gone through a lot of anger at the people only to look inward and realize that I too am guilty. But His grace and mercy! The realization that through it all if I turn back to Him, He forgives me.

  • Stephanie

    Hard to believe that after all that Israel did to God, He would just accept them right back, without thought, without questioning love.

    How perfect are You. How Your love surpasses everything I could every imagine. Lord, You are the example of true forgiveness, love, compassion, and justice. Lord, create in me that same heart. That same loving heart that doesn't hold back or hold grudges. I love You.

    p/s What an amazing Bible Study this was.

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