Daily Devotion 06 February 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Hosea 6: 1-4 ‘God’s Longing for God’s People’

1 ‘Come, let us return to the Lord;
for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
3 Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.’
4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early.

A casual read through the book of the prophet Hosea may well leave us thinking it full of dire threats of terrible punishments from a vengeful God for a sinful, faithless people. However, on closer inspection we see Hosea rightly warning of the consequences of sin.

The people of Israel were a disobedient lot! God had led the out of captivity in Egypt, been with them in their desert wanderings, giving them guidance on right living, laws directing them in paths of righteousness. Still, they preferred other ways, other gods. They failed to comprehend that the law was given for their own good. Break it and suffer the consequences. Much as God longed for their allegiance, they continued to follow their own desires. Such actions were bound to destroy them.

Hosea learnt through bitter experience that love can be betrayed – his wife had deserted him, and all his love and longing for her was insufficient to bring her back. He used that as a metaphor of God’s continuing love for his people. In Chapter 11 he writes: “How can I give you up, Israel? How can I abandon you? My love is too strong.” (11:8). Despite all the people’s lying, murder, theft, adultery, broken promises, still God’s love never wavered. He wanted their return, wishing only the best for them.

God today longs for those who have taken the wrong road to return to him. Whatever we may do, he wants us to live in fellowship with him and continues to plead with us to get rid of all that gets in the way of our discipleship. He waits for us to turn to him, acknowledging our weaknesses and downright disobedience. His love will never give up on us and he waits with forgiveness and love to restore our relationship with him who made us for himself. Only as we commit ourselves daily to him will we know peace and fulfilment. His love will never let us go, however often we choose to go our own way. May we not disabuse or disappoint him.

Prayer:

Forgive us Lord for all the times we turn from you,
choosing to follow the desires of our own hearts.
Teach us to love your will and your ways, so that we may please you,
and find your joy and peace in our hearts as you guide us throughout our lives.
Thank for seeking us out, forgiving us, and holding us.
We pray in the name of Jesus our Redeemer, Lord and Master. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Hazel Blake.
Image freely available online.

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