Text: Hosea 2:14-23, 2 Samuel 12:1-10
Man, I love being on the right side of an argument.
Being “righteously right” is more satisfying to me than a dark chocolate-covered pretzel (and those are pretty darn good). Sure, I’ll forgive you—just as long as you know I’m the one administering the mercy, and you’re the one admitting your shortcoming. It’s restoration on my terms and with my limits. You’re welcome.
Not super attractive. Not to my kids, not to my husband, not to the people I work with, and not to the One seated on the Mercy Seat.
But mercy isn’t about our righteousness. We don’t grant mercy because we are more and someone else is less. We grant mercy because we have been granted mercy. Period. We watch God, in His Word and in our own lives, act in mercy toward us every day. He requires us to repent but He doesn’t make us grovel. He invites us, just like He invited Israel, to return from how very wrong we are. And He makes us right because He is righteous. Because we have been shown real mercy, we can begin to learn to show the same.
Do you see the way God demonstrates mercy to His people in today’s reading? Israel is wronger than wrong—deeply unfaithful and offensive—and God makes plans to allure His unfaithful bride with tenderness. And my favorite: He promises to make the Valley of Achor (also known as the “Valley of Trouble,” a place synonymous with sin and death) into “a gateway of hope” (Hosea 2:15). Not even a gate—a gateway!
God makes it easy for us to come home too. He laid out the welcome mat for unfaithful Israel in spite of their wandering and unwillingness to return His faithfulness. God’s unrelenting love was just that—it never stopped inviting. And it never stops inviting and pursuing us. Not only does God’s faithful love save us, it also teaches us. It shows us how to show mercy—how to be unrelenting in our tenderness, offering gateways of hope because the same has been done for us.
As we read the book of Hosea, we learn no one is beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness. No one is too wrong to receive mercy. God may bring judgment and consequence for our sins, but His ultimate aim is restoration, as demonstrated even in the way He renamed Hosea’s children.
He calls us His people too. He calls you His person. His Word teaches us—from Eden’s fig leaves, to Hosea’s family, to the very line of David—that God is in the eternal business of turning condemnation into restoration. This restoration is for us to receive, and for us to offer to others. Being righteously right won’t get us anywhere, but joining the Father in His business of restoration is work worth doing well. Receive His invitation today, friend. Receive His mercy.