God presented yet another “lovers complaint” to the people of Israel. As sobering as it is to consider, God’s complaint to Israel just might relate to our own lives. In Hosea 2: 5-7 God says, “Their mother [speaking of the nation of Israel] has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will block her path with thorn bushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’
Apparently Israel was far too willing to settle for whatever her “sources” would give her. The nation had come to believe the god Baal was the one providing their abundant harvests. They had also come to believe their extensive political alliances were the easiest way to access a better existence – as each new alliance brought in more imports of food, wool, linen, and drink for their joyous consumption. It was completely intoxicating to get more of the things they wanted for themselves. So they kept chasing their next fix, and they settled for whatever fix they could get at whatever price it cost them to get it.
Yahweh’s relentless love was so much better than anything Israel was settling for, but they continued to settle for whatever they could grab without Him. And if it continued, God made it clear He would step back and let the consequences of their consumptive pursuits wall them in until they came to their senses and returned to Him. So what does God honestly desire from the people He loves? I think God’s saying, “Please stop trying to fulfill yourself without me!”
What would you say to a married couple if they told you, “We’ve decided to get our needs meets need outside of our marriage! We get our needs for laughter, emotional support, fun, and intimacy in places other than our marriage?” I don’t know what you would say, but I would say, No. 1 “You’re crazy?!” and No. 2 “Why did you even get married in the first place?” But you see, that is exactly what Israel was doing – they were going outside of their relationship with God to satiate all of their consumptive desires. Sadly I find myself doing the exact same thing when I pursue my plans, and only much later ask God to join my great agenda. I do this when I pursue my dreams without God. And I do it when God becomes the last place I look for fulfillment. God is searching for a people who have concluded there is no better place to have their needs met than in the experience of God’s relentless love! Do we desire to be one of those people?