Hosea: Day 19

Promise of Restoration


Today's Text: Hosea 14:1-9, Isaiah 61:1-4, Psalm 52:1-9

Text: Hosea 14:1-9, Isaiah 61:1-4, Psalm 52:1-9

I try to buy love.

I have never felt loved freely, so I attempt to earn it somehow instead. I’m a slave to affection, to being loved, to gaining approval. I am an apostate, abandoning my faith and refusing to believe the gospel’s fullness for my life and heart. I buy my way into the affections of others by being winsome, being faithful, being silent, being whatever they need in that moment.

I make a mockery of it—of the extravagant act of mercy the Son of God made on my behalf—every time I go on sinning so that grace may abound (Romans 6:1). I play hard to get, while at the same time longing to be caught in His infinite love and grace. I know the Truth in my head and struggle to wrestle it into my heart.

Like Gomer, what I fail to see is I am already caught. I’m already the bride of the King of the universe, and I bear His name (Isaiah 54:5). I twist myself to repent of my apostasy, yet God says He alone will heal it (Hosea 14:4). He doesn’t just undo my sin; He heals it because I cannot.

He loves us freely, without cost, without money:

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.”
-  Isaiah 55:1-2

God’s love is wholly distinct and different from ours. God is love, while Hosea can only give love. Love is who God is (1 John 4:8). He cannot help but love fully, without cost to those He loves, save one: His Son.

There is nothing that can be done to earn God’s love; this is the primary message of the book of Hosea. In the face of adultery, abandonment, idolatry, deceitfulness—His love remains, without cost, without money. He remains and He loves us freely.

As you finish reading the book of Hosea, the illustration of God’s extravagant love and our constant rebellion, lift up your eyes from your sin. See your God, your Maker, your Groom in the fullness of who He is and what He has done. Stop twisting yourself to win His affection, and stop trying to heal your own rebellious heart. He has already chosen you—yes, you—to be His bride.

Be His bride. Be healed. Be loved, Beloved.

“I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise You forever for what You have done. In the presence of Your faithful people, I will put my hope in Your name, for it is good.”
-Psalm 52:8-9


Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, tweets @lorewilbert, and posts photos @loreferguson. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

  • Gorgana

    I LOVE your heart – thanks for sharing it! My oldest grandson is Nate and my only female child or grandchild is Harper and I too have too many books to read in one lifetime. ❤️

  • I can’t belviee I’ve been going for years without knowing that.

  • Wow! This really spoke to me today. I learned that if we truly repent of our sins, the Lord will not just forgive us, but restore us from that sin. I could identify very very well with the desire to gain affection from others. There was one verse that said “You are an expert at lieing.”, or something to that effect. This fully describes me. I can think ahead and construct a lie and formulate it so that no one will know it’s a lie. I hate this about my self and am working to have God correct this problem.

  • Kaitlynn

    This was such a beautiful reminder today. So incredibly thankful for a God who loves so freely and unconditionally even when I do not deserve it!

  • Lore thank you for writing this it is exactly what I needed today. He is soooo good. Not only do I not have to earn His love, I cannot because He has already given it to me freely. Amen.

  • Kasey Summers

    Return to your groom. ❤️

  • Amanda :)

    loving freely; that is so hard to do with people who have hurt us. but I can because God is love and He has loved me freely through His son Jesus. Father, please help me to be loving and gracious to others because You have been loving and gracious to me.

  • This was an amazing study. I came away with several truths. 1) God loves us too much to allow us to stay in our sin. 2) God gently woos us back to Him. 3) He planted us wherever we are to glorify Him.

    • Phylicia

      Amen! I love those three summarizations. Thanks for sharing them!

  • Diane Huntsman

    Thank you SRT. You ladies are rock stars and once again nailed a study so that the Word of God becomes more than mere head knowledge.. It becomes heart transformation goodness.. I love what God does through each of you as you labor in His strength to give us the spiritual fuel we need to be healthy followers of the Almighty God! Thank you for being vulnerable, honest, and funny.. Those three components make for the best kind of humans. May Jesus hurl bountiful blessings all over y’all as you serve His people! Love you ladies!

  • After going the distance in this great study of Hosea, I see more clearly, there is nothing I can do to be cleansed, to be the me I am to be, the bride, the wife, the mother, the daughter,the sister or friend.. I have always been one who tears myself apart for not being able to please everyone, I am not perfect enough. I am sure there are others with this same battle.. it crushes me most days because I try to make me the me they want me to be… but now I feel free to know.. it. Isn’t who I should want to be, but who God created me to be, and only through relying on Him and looking up, will I be complete. No matter how far I run, what draws my attention, God is chasing me down, to bring me back to His calling for me… all I can say is thank You Lord for loving me beyond what I see, for forgiving me and never forsaking me..You God are my God, and I am your child, your bride… I await Your Voice….

  • Keri McCue

    This study has been amazing! Every day I am so excited to read and study with you ladies. I wasn’t excited about this study of Hosea but it has truly blessed me more than any other SRT study I have done. I needed to hear this, “Stop twisting yourself to win His affection, and stop trying to heal your own rebellious heart. He has already chosen you—yes, you—to be His bride.” Something I still can’t fathom and need to remind myself of often. My soul is at peace this morning!


    • Dany

      Keri, I have been looking for you! Congratulations! I hope you had a wonderful wedding …! God’s blessings for you and your husband!

  • This study couldn’t have come at a better time as I walk this season of abandonment and betrayal whilst my husband is gone. I have literally felt the arms of God around me and his words speak to my heart through the passages every single day. I pray the restoration of Isaiah 61 over my heart, and over our marriage. Thank you sweet sisters for standing and praying with me this week!

    • Jennifer

      I’ve thought about you often this week and prayed for you. I’m so glad to hear you are feeling so loved by the Father. He is our Redeemer, our only hope. I will continue to join you in prayer for the restoration of your marriage.

    • Phylicia

      Praying for you & your husband continuously!

  • Thank you. This is me. I know truth and it doesn’t seem to penetrate into my heart. I long to live simply, knowing I am chosen and beloved. And I do for a time, but then…I forget and feel like I must need to DO something. I am not worthy of love without trying, surely. And yet God is infinitely patient and gracious to me. He keeps reminding me over and over that truth is not my feelings but the very words of God. He IS love. He LOVES me. Always. Forever. Amen.

  • Jennifer W.

    I read the Scripture here and was blessed by some of my favorites, but then read the devotional and WOW, God brought up some stuff in my heart. I too have tried to buy love. I have never felt like I deserved anyone’s attention or affection and tried to earn it by pouring myself out for others. Unfortunately, that largely got me used and not loved in return. Even now, I will play hard to get sometimes with my own husband, my wounded heart trying to test and see if I am worth pursuing. So often, God allows me to be disappointed in this game- my dear husband is not aware of my game and blissfully falls asleep in man-like fashion!- but it is in those foolish, painful moments that God openly lavishes His love on me. He lets me see how foolish I am and how desperate I am, and then reminds me that He delights in me and loves me. I can take no pride in that kind of love. I can only glorify the One who gives that love so freely because of who HE is, not because of who I am. What wondrous love!

    • Becky K.

      Sister, preach! Love your heart. Also, this study was what I needed today to remember what it is that I already have in Christ! Don’t need to look for it. <3

  • The first paragraph describes me. I wrestle with anxiety over being enough. Being Christian enough, will I go to hell if I won’t do this or that? I so needed this devotion. Thank You, thank you, we ARE freely loved by Him.

  • I absolutely love the contrast of binding up shown in Isaiah 61. This intrigued me this morning as it says the Lord binds up the broken hearted yet frees those who are bound. I looked up the meaning of each word and found that the word used in the binding of the broken heart is synonymous with ‘to bandage’ and the bound prisoner can be referred to as taken, imprisoned. I love that everything the Lord does is in his goodness and kindness and he flips all worldly things around. He gives us the freshest perspective that only comes from him. My broken heart needed this. Through the recent passing of my dad, the Lord has been so good to continually show me Himself and His goodness in the toughest situation I have yet to walk through. Only by Him am I absolutely feeling the reality of Psalm 52:9
    I will thank you forever,
    because you have done it.
    I will wait for your name, for it is good…

  • Every word of today’s study is me. I hustle, I struggle,I comply, I sin, to feel love. In my quest for affection and approval, I’ve become a chameleon. I’ve hidden my true self since childhood to the point where I don’t recognize her. My true self doesn’t feel worthy of love. So I perform. I struggle. My rely on idols for comfort and love.
    But God.
    He loves me. I am His beloved .He will continue to pursue me and heal me because I can’t ” fix” myself.

  • Your transparency brings others to His overflowing fountain of love & acceptance. Grateful this community brings me to sit and be still.

  • I haven’t kept up with this study as much as I should have. Quite honestly because it’s been hitting so close to home. I am struggling mightily with a physical relationship that I am terrified will cause me to fall. I pray that I can be strong enough to resist temptation, and if it’s Gods will that I leave this relationship that I have the strength to do that as well. It will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

    • C Gunckel

      Lin, praying for you!

    • shannon

      hold fast to the Lord and seek Him in the relationship. If there is something in the relationship that is not honoring God, I challenge you to really look at that. If it means running, then run. Praying for you! It is very hard.

    • Lindsay

      Praying for accountability for you, sister! Been there, just keep being honest with yourself and with God, and if the person you’re in a relationship with isn’t earnestly seeking the same and isn’t taking drastic measures to lead you both away from that temptation, flee!! So much easier said than done, I know, but so worth NOT being terrified to fall <3 <3

    • PeggyR

      Praying for you, Lin. Been there. Hard. Hard. Hard. Like Lindsay said, if the person you are involved with is not eagerly seeking to protect you both from that temptation, FLEE! For me, it’s the realization that this person really does not love me, that helped me run away.

  • I feel I need to share this because the message of love has been so strong in this study.
    I am doing a YWAM school for 6 months. And we just started. The first day they asked us what our expectations were for God. And my answer was to feel loved and forgiven and feel it in my bones. That morning as we were worshipping one of the staff had God speak to her about me. God was telling me that I am loved and it’s not something that I need to earn. But that this is a time to rest assured in the love that he freely gives. For someone who’s been striving to earn love from others it was beautiful to know that God doesn’t expect me to earn his love

  • Today’s reading goes hand in hand with my heart today. I am in the same constant struggle to understand that I am ALREADY His Bride. I always feel like I need some life-altering, cataclysmic realization, something with Vegas flashing lights that says “Ok, NOW you are worthy”. But that’s not the case, and I am constantly reminding myself of that. Thank you for the encouraging words of wisdom, and yet another reminder.

  • As I look at the times of the posts of my Sisters here I feel as if we are all having our morning coffee or tea together. Thank you SRT for bringing us together to rejoice in the Lord. Peace be with all of you today as we feel God’s never ending love for us. Yes, us, each and every one.

  • This kind of goes in line with another devotion of mine. We already have God’s grace, it can’t be earned yet every time I screw up or sin I think I’m missing out on a blessing that I wouldn’t have had had I been faithful. Silly me.

  • Evangeline

    I am already caught, love this, so humbled that He does not give up on me.

  • Return, O Israel [Mary] to the LORD your God. Take words- say to Him, take away all iniquity -and before the foundation of the world was laid He agreed to bear my sin upon Himself at Calvary. Then He says, I will heal, I will love, I will be like the dew so you will blossom like the lily ,pure and fresh. They [Mary] shall return and dwell beneath My shadow and flourish! O Ephraim [Mary] what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. Mary be wise, understand these things, discern and know them; for His ways are right, Mary you are upright -walk in them.
    Standing in awe of His everlasting love,grace, and mercy. Savior, You are everything to me.

  • In the early hours of the morning, without fail my phone beeps, This is to inform me that a machine has found someone that may be a match for me in the human love stakes…
    Most nights I ignore til the morning, where I know without a doubt and little hope that the profile will not be suitable to me, and I press the delete button …
    This morning was no different,Unfortunately I couldn’t sleep, so I opened the inbox..
    My earthly search for love seemed to trump the love I know, in my heart, in my head, in my being…that I already have from and in the Lord God Almighty. ..

    But God..

    He holds not this character within me against me..He pursues me in spite of my choices, MY pursuing, He never gives up…ever..
    So very thankful for my loving God, who sees me in my mess, in my searching, in my wanderings. .in my putting others first..He loves me…He loves me..

    Lord, may I return to you…forgive my sins…and receive me graciously as I know you will. ..heal my waywardness and open my eyes to your love that is freely given..without cost, without charge. ..
    Thank you Lord, for your fsithful snd pursuing love..Thank you..

    May the Lord turn His face to shine on you dear sisters. .and bless you abundantly. ..xxx

    • Becky g

      Thank you for expressing my heart so perfectly. Praying for you and all the SRT sisters.

    • Rochelle

      Amazing, isn’t it, the things we choose to do before spending the with Jesus? I literally have to force myself to sit down, and then five minutes in I’m completely absorbed, having been hungry for my daily bread…thank you, as always, for your transparency and realness!

    • Joyce

      He wants to fill your heart with himself. Not a man. Allow his perfect love to satisfy you wholly.

  • I loved the “summary” paragraph, mostly the last line: “He remains and He loves us freely.” What good news that is, that though we are prone to wander and rebel and push God away, He remains; and though we feel we have to earn His love or that we don’t deserve His love, He freely gives it to us (at great cost to Himself!). So good!

  • churchmouse

    I have made of my life some ruins. I have made of my life some devastations. I would be the most wretched had it not been for the extravagant love of Jesus. He takes my disasters (every one deserved because of my foolish choices) and makes something beautiful. Something fitting for a beloved bride. He rebuilds. He restores. He renews. (Is. 61: 4) Thank you, SRT, for drawing me closer to the One who loved me first and loves me still. Yes, I am loved. Freely. I can barely breathe at the thought of it. He takes my breath away, my Beloved.

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