I remember when I would read verses like these and wonder how in the world people could claim this God character as a ‘loving’ God.
I didn’t get it.
I would read these verses and argue that I just couldn’t accept this barbaric God. His standards were too much for me. I couldn’t fit into what He wanted me to be. And I wasn’t even bad yet.
As a 14 year old girl, I struggled with this God from this part of the bible. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like Him.
That’s when I left. Well, the beginning of it. I left. I didn’t like what He had to say and so I stopped listening. I quickly became the devil’s advocate. Constantly picking apart believers and pushing them into corners where I knew there was no answer they would ever give me that would change my mind.
I watched them squirm and fail, time after time. And each time, I felt victorious.
My point had been proven.
And the truth is, I would have been right, except for one thing. Jesus.
He was the game-changer.
You see, in these very harsh, barbaric verses in Hosea we feel God’s frustration. The Israelites had no desire to be saved. They were just fine doing their own thing. God was the last person on their mind. And it would seem that He had had just about enough.
And I don’t know about you, but I still find myself relating to the Israelites. Wandering around. Lost, most days. Constantly looking to everything else, but Him to give me what only He can give.
And the truth is, not everyone is going to have that relationship with Him. Some people just won’t believe. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. And even those of us who do believe, still struggle with the same things, day in and day out. Because we believe doesn’t make us perfect. It doesn’t make it easy. It just makes us believers.
So thank goodness, these chapters in Hosea aren’t where it ends for us. Thank goodness, this mean, barbaric, angry God had a soft side. Thank goodness that He knew we couldn’t do it on our own. We would never be able to do it on our own. Thank goodness that He really is a loving, compassionate, caring God who only wants a relationship with us.
So now, as I read these verses. I don’t see the mean, angry God that I just couldn’t understand. Instead, I see the God who is so desperately in love with me and can’t imagine losing me. And my prayer for you this week, is that you see Him too.
Lord, thank you. Thank you for being so patient with me even 18 years ago. Thank you for never letting me out of your sight. Thank you for not only loving me, but for loving me so much that it doesn’t always make sense. Lord, I pray that those reading this and reading those verses will come away with a new sense of just how loved they are. Lord, thank you for being so good and for sending your only son to die for our sins so that we might have that relationship with you. Thank you Lord. Thank you for knowing exactly what we need before we even willing to admit it ourselves. Lord, I pray these things in your name, Amen.