Wanderers Among the Nations
Open Your Bible
Hosea 9:1-17, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Psalm 51:1-12
Text: Hosea 9:1-17, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Psalm 51:1-12
My favorite room in our house is the dining room. True, it may be because we eat food there (and I do love food), but it’s more than that. It’s because of the way it makes me feel. I can’t put words to it exactly, but I knew it the first time I set foot in that room: it was home.
The intangible quality of feeling “at home” is as hard to replicate as it is to describe, but it is nonetheless deeply real—so real that we spend our lives trying to find it, create it, hang on to it. That’s why I can’t bear to change the color of our green paint-over-panel dining room walls. I want it to always feel the way it did the day I stood in the doorway and cried because I knew I was home.
Hosea chapter 9 is about home, but not the warm, fuzzy feeling I get when I walk into my green dining room at the end of a long day. Israel had forfeited all opportunities for true joy in their lives, in their families, and in their homes. Their blatant and persistent sin meant they were no longer welcome in God’s presence, not until they returned with repentant hearts.
But Israel was not interested in repentance. Instead, they settled into their sin, becoming at home in their shame. Listen to the sadness in the Lord’s description of their turning away from Him and unto their false loves:
I discovered Israel
like grapes in the wilderness.
I saw your fathers
like the first fruit of the fig tree in its first season.
But they went to Baal-peor,
consecrated themselves to Shame,
and became detestable,
like the thing they loved.
– Hosea 9:10
God’s people were called to be holy—set apart for Him alone. But they instead set themselves apart for Shame, the very opposite of their holy, just, and loving Father. What choice did He have but to kick them out of His house?
I will drive them from My house
because of their evil, wicked actions.
I will no longer love them…
– Hosea 9:15
And that’s where the story would end without the gospel—with me, you, and Israel, sitting on the curb next to a heap of our idols, none of them able to save us or give us a forever home. There we would stay, bound to our shame and humiliation.
Shame is not the same as repentance, nor is humiliation the same as humility. It is not enough to be aware of our sin, wallowing in our brokenness. We must (and we may!) repent and return to our holy, gracious God.
Praise the Lord, He loves even the wanderers. He seeks us out and beckons us home by the perfect sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. The Holy One invites us to exchange our worship of impotent idols for worship of Him, the only living God. He washes us of our guilt, breaks our chains of sin and shame, and binds us to Himself. Thanks be to God, we “who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah” (Ephesians 2:13).
In Christ, we are at home.