I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely. – Hosea 14:4
If I left out two words in this passage, it would reveal God’s grace. God says to his people, “I will heal …; I will love them freely.”
But what happens when you add those two missing words? It reveals God’s AMAZING GRACE! “I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely.”
Can you fathom that degree of love? Even when we rebel, God loves us freely. In spite of us being disloyal, God is faithful!
To demonstrate that degree of love, I need to remind you of the story of Hosea … Being a prophet was a crummy job. Usually the prophets had to poke their fingers in the king’s nose, saying essentially, “Your faithlessness and failures are the cause of God’s great displeasure and your people’s failings.” And then they had to run, hoping they wouldn’t be caught and executed.
Hosea’s job was a different king of crummy. In verse 2 of the book, God orders poor Hosea to “1:2 Go and take a wife who is a whore. Have children of harlotry … 3 So he went and took Gomer … and she conceived … a son.”
Here was God’s plan: Hosea would marry a prostitute. He was a good man. He’d obey God and learn to love Gomer. But his wife was not a “good” woman. Every now and then, she’d pine for her old amorous ways, and she’d just wander off. She’d cheat with every guy in town. She’d sell herself for wanton pleasure. And Hosea – steadfast and faithful – would go and track down his wife and bring her back and clean her up and restore her to a place of honor. And it would happen again … and again.
And just as Hosea’s neighbors were finally, fully laughing at Hosea, mocking him, judging him, was Hosea finally allowed to speak. Finally he spoke prophetically, saying essentially, “People of Israel, this is you. God is the faithful bridegroom, but you keep playing the whore with false gods and the Baals.”
“4:1 O people of Israel … hear the word of the Lord … for the Lord has an indictment against [you] … There is no faithfulness or loyalty … There is no knowledge of God in the land … 2 Swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed. … 11 Win and new wine take away … understanding … 12 My people consult a piece of wood [idolatry] … and they have played the whore, [seeking other gods and] forsaking their God.”
But do you want to know how amazing God’s grace really is? Read today’s verse: “I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely.” (It took a few chapters and a call to repentance – see chapters 6 and 7 – but God is truly proven gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.)
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s glad
he was called
to be a pastor,
not a prophet!