Hosea 11

Hosea 11 has the prophet remembering just how much God loves His people.  Some 500 years before Hosea’s time, God had let them out of Egypt.  He provided for them and took care of them as they wandered the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land.  But they were unfaithful to him.  “They kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols”.  Hard to understand what caused them to follow their own ways rather than staying connected to the God who set them free, but they did.

God nave gave up on them though, just as He never gives up on you or me.  “I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; and I bent down and fed  them”.  God doesn’t force us to love Him.  He draws us gently with cords of love, tugging at our hearts hoping we will come to love Him.  He never uses harsh manipulation or force to get us to love Him.  No man comes to God until he is drawn to Him.  God uses His love to draw us to Himself.

But the people then had the same issues we do today.  They were self-absorbed and focused on their own will and desires rather than being pulled toward God.  “My people are bent on turning from Me. Though they call them to the One on high, none at all exalts Him”.  Seems strange given the history of God’s people and His powerful work in their lives.  But it’s no different for us today.  If we merely look around we can see God’s fingerprints all over our lives, yet we choose willfully to sin and turn our attention to self rather than Him.  We too are bent on turning from Him.

God doesn’t want to chastise and punish us for our sin.  But justice demands that He do it, yet in His heart He provides a way of salvation. In this, God sends Jesus Christ, and on the cross Jesus was “given up” in our place.  He took the sin that we will be judged for and carries it to the grave.  And when He arose, He put that sin away and behind us once for all.  Jesus is the way God draws us to Himself and overcomes the sin problem that we each carry.  His nature requires that He judge us for how we live.  Christ covers that sin and allows us to come into right relationship with God for eternity!

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