Hosea 1-4

We backtrack a bit to hear what Hosea has to say. And we indeed want to hear it, because Hosea has a unique assignment of showing God’s mercy.

This prophet has a message to the northern kingdom, Israel, after the kingdoms split. He spends about 40 years pleading with them to turn back to God, but they won’t listen.

In the midst of his message, however, Hosea shows God’s unfailing love towards His people. Hosea is instructed to marry a prostitute and to have children by her. She, of course, will be unfaithful to him, but he will continue to love her through it all.

It’s a picture of God’s faithfulness to Israel, even when Israel is “playing the harlot” with all of the gods around.

Chapter two is especially poignant. The Lord says that He will lure Israel into the wilderness and make a covenant with her there. He will rescue her from destruction, and draw her out to be with Him. “The valley of Achor will become a door of hope.”(2:15) The valley of destruction will become a hope for her, because it will be from there that Israel will remember God and turn back to Him.

This verse has brought solace to many mothers I have known. Praying for their wayward children, they have seen them suffer because of bad choices. Yet often that wilderness experience has been the very thing to bring them back to God. The Valley of Achor (pain) has become the door of hope indeed.

In this chapter of Hosea, we see that God’s people will begin to call Him “husband” (Ishi), because of the closeness they develop. All of this allegory reminds me of a passage in Song of Solomon 8:5. “Who is this coming up out of the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?” It’s the bride of Christ, of course, His church.

We are married to our Lord, so that we are one with Him now. What a beautiful picture of our love relationship with Him!

The difference is that we will remain faithful to Him…won’t we?

Jude

There is one word which leaps out at me from Jude’s letter. That word is “contend.” Contend ¬†earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to you. (V. 3)

He goes on to mention the angels and their fall from the very throne of God. Then he speaks of many others who have turned from God. Finally he gets to the present day (and , yes, they are still present day), men who try to turn the grace of God into licentiousness.

God’s grace is such a precious thing. His love for us and His empowerment of us through His Holy Spirit is wondrous indeed. We are to honor that grace and live lives which show His grace to others. Never is that grace to be defiled by taking it lightly and abusing it.

Jude finishes his letter by saying that there will be those who come into our midst, trying to create divisions and strife. They will be mockers, following after their own lusts, worldly-minded, and self-centered. (V. 19)

But there is good news in all of this: we don’t have to be that way. When we keep our eyes focused on our Lord, and when we “build ourselves up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit”(V. 20), we will be filled with faith, love and His purpose.

And our God is able to keep us from stumbling, when we commit our lives to these things. (V. 24)

It’s do-able – we just have to do it!