Theme of the Week: Hosea
Bible Verse: “Come, let us return to the Lord … let us press on to know the Lord” Hosea 6:1,3
Scripture Reading: Hosea 6:1-7:2
It’s one thing to consider that God takes an interest in human beings, encouraging us to follow his paths and allowing negative consequences to occur when we don’t. It’s another step to reflect on the possibility that God gets angry, withdraws blessing and, perhaps, inflicts hard times on stubborn and rebellious people.
That’s what Hosea was saying to the people in his generation, characterizing them as unfaithful and completely deserving God’s censure.
Yet Hosea was also able to soften his criticism with a call to repentance. He is convinced of the basic goodness of God, confident that God actually wants to bring healing and renewal to those who desire to be back in his good books. Despite the Lord’s severe chastening, return is always possible.
The work of restoration involves an element of human will. God is endlessly enticing, yet he does not compel. The prophet strongly encourages us to seek the Lord, and to trust that he will bring us back into his fold. “Let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers; like the spring rains that water the earth” (6:3).
And what does God want from us? In a word, love. What does God not want from us? Mere conformity to religious ritual. “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (6:6).
Reconciliation is the very heart of the Christian gospel. God wants his followers to orient their lives to his nature. He’s not much interested in religious practices that don’t effectively attune our hearts to God. He wants his ways to inform the ordinary of our lives.
Prayer: O God, what can I do when I’ve wandered far from you? Simply return; and know that the one who created me in his image yearns for me to draw near, to know you better and love you more. God, in you is mercy, draw me closer every day. Amen.
These writings were previously published in theStory by Scripture Union. Used with permission.
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