If you ever doubt God’s unrelenting and unending love for you and ALL His creation, than read Hosea. If you ever, even for just a moment, begin to believe the lies of the devil, that God doesn’t really love you, that you’ve made too many mistakes too many times and He’s given up on you, then read Hosea. This book paints the picture of a merciful God who loves his people so much that He can’t forget them, even when they’ve forgotten Him. This is a God who cannot turn His face forever. Though His anger may last for a while, He will ALWAYS bring us back to Him. His chosen people disobey, and worship the fertility God, Baal, and they put their trust in something that has no power. They quickly forget their God, who brought them out slavery, into freedom. They forget He who has always been working all things together for their good. But God doesn’t forget them. Even as He brings judgement upon the people, He is overcome with deep compassion for those He loves. He does not take back the consequences for their actions, they must still suffer for a time, but He also promises hope in the end. He promises compassion and love. This isn’t just reserved for his chosen people thousands of years ago. He shows the same kind of love today that He showed the Israelites. His heart is still overflowing with the same kind of mercy and compassion for us.
I don’t always believe that though. I don’t always believe that God’s love for me is unwavering, and unending. I bet you feel that way sometimes too. Somewhere along the line we have convinced ourselves that we are beyond redemption. We bought satan’s lies, hook, line and sinker. We begin to believe that we have strayed too far for the shepherd to bring us home. One of my favorite quotes is from Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller, “If we hear, in our inner ear, a voice saying we are failures, we are losers, we will never amount to anything, this is the voice of satan trying to convince the bride that the groom does not love her. This is not the voice of God. God woos us with kindness, He changes our character with the passion of His love.” God never condemns us. He convicts us, and molds us to look more like Him. He does this by overwhelming us with His infinite love and grace. When I feel weak, I know that in those times He is strong. One of my favorite passages in the bible that showcases this idea is 2 Corinthians 12:9(a). Paul is describing how there was a “thorn in his flesh”… or struggle, a battle in his spirit that he was fighting, and he begged God to free him from this stronghold, but God’s answer might surprise you, “But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.” We look at our weaknesses and we feel gross and useless, but God looks at them and He uses them to show His power and strength. He covers us with His grace and favor. Just like the Israelites, when we go astray there are consequences, but God’s love for His creation is eternal. No matter how far we fall, He is there waiting to pick you up and wrap you in His arms. Remember the story of Hosea, remember the love of God for His people, and forget the lies of satan. You are redeemed, you are indelibly inscribed on the palms of His hands, He rejoices over you with joy and exults over you with singing, He no longer sees the sins of your past, but instead He is doing a new thing. We belong to Him and we are LOVED.