I am so far from Him. Why would He want me? I have turned away and gone after other things…my efforts are fruitless and destructive. The life is gone from me. My heart lacks all joy. The laughter on my lips is scarce. I’m tired. I’m questioning everything. I’m unsatisfied. I’m losing my heart, my soul, my spirit. I’ve turned away from the One who brings life, who speaks life, who IS life.
I am ashamed to turn to Him. Why would He want me back? I will probably do it again anyway. I will never be good enough or have anything to offer that is worthy of being offered to One so great. I should just stop. And never return. I am not deserving of Him.
But then I hear Him.
Hosea. A story that speaks of God’s anger at a people who continue to turn away and worship other gods. People whose words are empty and full of hypocrisy. They are a harlot while their God remains faithful. Their sin is ugly and full. Their efforts to worship God have turned into selfish, lustful worship of themselves. They see their sickness and turn to other things for healing. And oh how great is His anger. And they deserve nothing less than the full outpouring of His wrath.
But He gives them yet another chance. They are called to repentance.
Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
He says out of the depth of His love,
“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me;
My sympathy is stirred.
I will not execute the fierceness of My anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man,
The Holy One in your midst;
And I will not come with terror.
They are called to return.
O Israel, return to the Lord your God,
For you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
Take words with you,
And return to the Lord.
Lord, this is what I say to you.
“Take away all my sin; receive me graciously, for I will offer the sacrifices of my lips. Not money or security or unfailing strength will save me; I will not depend on the security of earthly things, nor will I say anymore to the work of my hands, ‘You are my god.’ For in You the fatherless finds mercy.”
Lord, I hear you say to me
“I will heal your faithlessness. My love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to you a refreshing dew from heaven. You will bloom like a lily, whose roots go deep into the soil like a cedar. You will be rooted and immovable in Me. Your branches will spread out like a beautiful canopy, and your scent will be fragrant and lovely. You will again live under my shade. You will flourish and blossom and be sweetly fragrant. Oh daughter, stay away from idols. I AM the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.”
Who is wise?
Let him understand these things.
Who is prudent?
Let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right;
The righteous walk in them,
But transgressors stumble in them.
“If you could feel those words and the way I mean them right now, you wouldn’t question whether I’m capable of loving you or not. You would say, “Wow. He loves me that much?!” “
Scripture taken from Hosea, chapters 6, 11, and 14.