Throughout the book of Hosea, God demonstrates His great love for us and His faithfulness to us. His unconditional love is apparent.
Yet this group of people never receive God’s wonderful love for them. The Lord speaks of a day when He will bring back His people to their own land and bless them. And that word will be carried out, but this group will never be in on it.
Hosea is writing to the northern kingdom, Israel, which contains 10 of the original tribes of Israel. These people will be captured and transported to Assyria, and there is no record of them ever returning. The southern kingdom, Judah, will eventually go into Babylon and will be brought back by God’s mighty hand. But not the ones who go into Assyria. Some have come to call these people the “Lost Tribes of Israel.”
There are several books which give us glimpses of God’s faithfulness to the children of Judah in Babylon. The books of Daniel, Esther, Nehemiah, and Ezra all show how God continues to work with His people even in captivity. But we never hear from these whom Hosea addresses again.
God’s love is there for us today – even in a greater measure because of the blood of Jesus. Yet not all will receive it.
Those of us who do receive His great love will bring forth much fruit for His kingdom. We will be empowered by Him to overcome the sin in our lives, and we will be empowered by Him to share the good news with others.
Hosea is a book which shows unequivocally how God is eager to bless those who are His. It also shows that we have a choice.
I pray that you and I will choose wisely. Living in His love is an awesome place to be!
If you are a parent, you know the many sides of your responsibility toward your children. You are cultivating a life which will hopefully represent God and His kingdom, so your instruction is not always the same.
When your child is lacking in confidence – perhaps having been mistreated by a teacher or friend – your words to him or her are uplifting and encouraging. You remind him of God’s great love for him and that the Father= is there for him in whatever he pursues. You major on God’s grace.
However, if your child is off the path, and about to get himself into trouble – maybe because of his own stubbornness – your word to him is different. In this case, you bring correction and rebuke for the dangerous behavior.
In each case, your word is based on your love for your child. You are responding to the need of the moment.
Well our heavenly Father is the same way. There are times when we need much encouragement, and that is what He gives us. There are times, however, when we need to be corrected, and that is what He gives us.
In these chapters of Revelation, we see our God at work doing just that. Yesterday we took a look at some of the letters to the churches. Today, we cover the rest of them.
In chapter three, He addresses a dead church.(And we have seen some of those). He also addresses two others. The church of Philadelphia is the most on track of any we have seen. This church is producing fruit for the kingdom, and has a door open to it – a door which no one can shut, because Jesus Himself has opened the door. It’s their reward for “having a little strength, having kept His Word, and not having denied His name.”(3:8)
Then Jesus comes to the lukewarm church – the church which is the most prevalent “problem church” in our society. When we have grown up in a religious society, we forget some things along the way, and our sight becomes clouded. We start relying on our own righteousness, and not that of our Savior. We start living our lives from our own works, and we forget how much we need our Father’s empowerment to live for Him.
That’s where the Laodicean church found itself. And they had quite a rebuke! Jesus says to them – and those of us today who are in that quagmire – that He will vomit them up, if they don’t repent. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chastise.” (3:19)
Yet He is still knocking on the door of their hearts – and yours and mine when we become self-sufficient. If we have an ear to hear, we will overcome and sit with Him.
Over the years, there have been many times when I would feel God’s correction for me. Perhaps concerning an attitude; perhaps concerning incorrect thinking. One thing is certain: His correction is always sweet. The devil will condemn, but Jesus corrects in a way that doesn’t condemn. His correction will bring peace, because it will be obvious that it comes from His love.
I am so very thankful for the many facets of my God’s love for me. Always love, but many expressions of it. Awesome!